India re-elected to UN Human Rights Council for 3-year term

Wednesday 20th October 2021 07:29 EDT

UNITED NATIONS: India was re-elected to the Human Rights Council for another three-year term, starting next year, with a pledge to "to bring its pluralistic, moderate and balanced perspective to straddle various divides or differences in the Council.” India received 184 of the 193 votes cast in the election.

India's manifesto for the election emphasized that the promotion and protection of human rights were best served by "dialogue, cooperation and constructive and collaborative engagement." A total of 18 seats were up for election this year under the system of rotating membership with three-year terms on the 47-member Council.

The Asia group of countries unanimously endorsed India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates for the five seats for the region that were up for election this year ensuring their unopposed election.

Despite the unanimity, two spoiler votes were cast – one each for Fiji and the Maldives. The other regional ballots were five for Africa, three each for the two groups, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western and other Countries, and two for Eastern Europe. They were also non-competitive as the various groups had endorsed only as many countries as there were vacancies.

The US, which rejoined the Council this year after President Joe Biden assumed office, contested the election and was elected, but with only 168 votes, the lowest number of votes of the 18 countries. Former President Donald Trump had withdrawn the US from the Council in 2018 criticizing it for having serious human rights violators like China, Cuba and Venezuela as members and for what he called its "anti-Israel" stance.

The Secretary of State had said that Washington's withdrawal had created a vacuum on the Council that authoritarian countries had taken advantage of and to redress this, the US "must be at the table using the full weight of our diplomatic leadership.” This year's elections were non-controversial as none of those three countries – nor others liable to stir controversies – were on the ballot.

Bangladesh, which will complete two consecutive terms at the end of this year, was not eligible for reelection. Pakistan, China and Nepal are also currently on the Council with terms running till 2023.

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