United Nations rights council criticised over election of new members

India wins seat at United Nations Human Rights Council

As a Council Member, Fiji will remain a fierce advocate of climate action, and will speak loudly and clearly for the protection of the human rights of migrants, internally displaced peoples and women and girls, while also pushing for greater protection of sexual and reproductive rights, the prevention of torture, in all forms, and the strength of independent institutions.

He was commenting on widespread criticisms from global human rights groups that assailed the United Nations body's decision as a step back for human rights because of accusations that the Duterte administration was behind extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier urged the United Nations member states to oppose the Philippines' bid for a seat in the UNHRC, citing the killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's war against illegal drugs.

It was "a vote is ridiculous without competition", said Louis Charbonneau, of the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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Following the race, Mr Akbaruddin tweeted "Voting in favour of a Happy Outcome". We feel grateful to all the friends in United Nations for their support.

The UN General Assembly has elected India as top human rights body for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019.

The UN General Assembly in NY approved the new members in a vote on Friday.

18 new members were elected by absolute majority through a secret ballot.

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But the CHR pointed out that the inclusion of the Philippines in the council was "expected because the Asian group fielded as many candidates as there were seats in the Human Rights Council".

On the 47-member Council the seats are allocated based on "equitable regional distribution" giving the Asia-Pacific region a total of 13 seats, with some coming up for election every year.

Fiji vied for a seat in the Asia Pacific category alongside Philippines, India, Bahrain and Bangladesh.

Its last tenure had ended on December 31, 2017 and in accordance with the rules, it was not eligible for immediate re-election since it had already served two consecutive terms.

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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomed the decision but reiterated that "earning a seat in the council puts pressure on the government" to tackle many human rights violations such as the growing cases of extrajudicial killings in the country.

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