UN Rights polls faulted

The Asian Age - - World -

United Na­tions, US, Oct. 13: Bahrain, Cameroon and the Philip­pines were among a num­ber of na­tions con­tro­ver­sially elected to the United Na­tions Hu­man Rights Coun­cil on Fri­day, spark­ing sharp crit­i­cism from rights groups and the United States.

Around a third of seats on the 47- mem­ber coun­cil, based in Geneva, were open for slots last­ing from 2019- 2022.

A 97- vote ma­jor­ity from the 193 na­tions that make up the UN's Gen­eral Assem­bly is needed for ap­proval.

For the first time since the coun­cil was cre­ated in 2006, each vot­ing re­gion agreed in ad­vance on 18 can­di­dates to be in the run­ning for 18 seats -- re­mov­ing any com­pe­ti­tion.

New mem­bers Bahrain, Cameroon, the Philip­pines, So­ma­lia, Bangladesh and Eritrea were elected with be­tween 160 and 178 votes -- and im­me­di­ately drew crit­i­cism from ac­tivists in Europe and North Amer­ica dis­miss­ing them as “un­qual­i­fied” due to their hu­man rights records.

“By putting for­ward se­ri­ous rights vi­o­la­tors and pre­sent­ing only as many can­di­dates as seats avail­able, the re­gional groups risk un­der­min­ing the coun­cil's cred­i­bil­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness,” said New York- based Hu­man Rights Watch.

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