UN crit­i­cized over lat­est picks for rights coun­cil

Manila Bulletin - - World News -

UNITED NA­TIONS, United States (AFP) — 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.

Around a third of the seats on the 47-mem­ber coun­cil, based in Geneva, were up for grabs 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 the green light.

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 rights groups 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.

Five of the new mem­bers were from Africa, five from Asia, two from east­ern Europe, three from Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean, and three from western Europe.

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