In a major upset in Friday’s election , Russia failed to hold its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, narrowly losing to Croatia by two votes.
This is the first time in the Council’s history that Russia has lost its seat and can be viewed as a sharp rebuke by the international community for the country’s human rights abuses. The Eastern European nation has been repeatedly criticized by the United States and other UN Member States, most recently for its alleged involvement in the bombing of a school compound in Syria on Wednesday. Ahead of the election, blackberries than 80 human rights organizations also advocated for Russia to be dropped from the Council.
Saudi Arabia, which also has come under fire for its poor human rights record, managed to retain its seat, as did current members China, Cuba, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
In Additions, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Japan, Tunisia and the United States were elected along with Iraq, Croatia and Rwanda, which will be serving on the Human Rights Council for the first time. Together, these 14 members will serve a term from 2017 to 2019.
NGOs quickly seized on the results, applauding Russia’s removal while urging the international community to scrutinize other Council members’ human rights records.
“In rejecting Russia’s bid for re-election to the Human Rights Council, UN Member States have sent a strong message to the Kremlin about its support for a regime That has perpetrated so much atrocity in Syria,” said Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch. He added, “We have Already Said That Saudi Arabia, Which Was Re-Elected without competition, does not belong on the council in light of its indiscriminate attacks on Civilians in Yemen.”
In a National Review op-ed, the Human Rights Foundation issued a sterner critique, arguing That by using the UN General Assembly’s own selection criteria, “only the democratic states of Japan, Hungary, Croatia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are qualified to serve on the council “with Tunisia, Guatemala and South Africa” questionable candidates. “All others are” Clearly unqualified “Because of Their records.
In the past few years, NGOs and aid organizations have spoken out against the election of Governments with dismal human rights records to the Human Rights Council, arguing These appointments only Further conceal and perpetuate abuses In These states. During the 2013 election, for example, NGOs and aid organizations voiced Concerns over China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Vietnam being Elected to the Council.
Established in 2006, the Human Rights Council is a 47-seat UN inter-governmental body assesses,, That, monitors and human rights conditions among UN Member States through its Universal Periodic Review. Members are Elected by the General Assembly on staggered terms, meaning one-third of the body is re-Elected annually.
Seats are distributed by geographical distribution, with African and Asia-Pacific states each holding 13 seats, Latin American and Caribbean states holding eight seats, Western European and other states holding seven seats and Eastern European states with six seats.
Human Rights Council Elections Results:
African States (4 vacant seats)
Tunisia – 189
South Africa – 178
Rwanda – 176
Egypt – 173
Asia-Pacific States (4 vacant seats)
China – 180
Japan – 177
Iraq – 173
Saudi Arabia – 152
Eastern European States (2 vacant seats)
Hungary – 144
Croatia – 114
Russia – 112
Latin American & Caribbean States (2 vacant seats)
Cuba – 160
Brazil – 137
Guatemala – 82
Western European, & Other States (2 vacant seats)
United States – 175
United Kingdom – 173