Despite protests from human rights activists, Russia and China are once again members of the UN Human Rights Council. Another country was denied membership.
China and Russia were elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday. However, approval for the re-election of China to the body fell by 20 percent compared to the 2016 election. Saudi Arabia had also applied for re-election, but failed.
The 193 members of the UN General Assembly also elected representatives from Ivory Coast, Gabon, Malawi, Cuba, Bolivia, Uzbekistan and France to the council, which has 47 members. The countries are among the 15 that the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York appointed on Tuesday for three years each in the body.
Members are determined by secret ballot
The UN Human Rights Council is supposed to monitor compliance with human rights around the world. He also instructs the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, currently Michelle Bachelet, to investigate certain problem areas.
The members are elected by secret ballot. A maximum of two consecutive terms of office are possible per country. In addition, country groups are prescribed so that there is a distribution in the body that represents the world regions.
USA gave up their membership in 2018
Human rights activists had previously protested against elections, mainly from Russia, Cuba, China and Saudi Arabia, because the inadequate handling of human rights in these countries did not qualify them for a seat on this body. “The defeat of Saudi Arabia is a good reminder in the Human Rights Council that there should be more competition in UN votes,” said Louis Charbonneau of the human rights organization Human Rights Watch.
If there had been more candidates, China, Cuba and Russia would have failed too. A place in the UN Human Rights Council puts these “perpetrators” in the spotlight, “Charbonneau said.
USA gave up membership
The US has gave up their membership in the Human Rights Council in 2018. President Donald Trump accused the body of partiality to the detriment of Israel and a lack of ability to reform.
It happens again and again that countries are represented that are accused of human rights violations. At the moment these are the Philippines, Libya and Venezuela. The USA therefore left in 2018. Germany has been a member again for three years since 2020.