UN General Assembly elects members to human rights body

UN General Assembly elects members to human rights body
# 13 May 2010 23:48 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted in 14 new members to the world body’s leading human rights body, APA reports quoting news.xinhuanet.com web-page.
The 47-member Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, reflects the UN geographic composition, and seats are allotted by region. But for the first time, each UN geographical region has put forward "clean slates" with only as many candidates as vacancies.
Human rights groups have expressed concern about the lack of choice going into the elections. The election process has been criticized as deteriorating as fewer states have competed each year.
For the four available seats representing Asia, only four countries ran and therefore "won": Malaysia, Maldives, Qatar and Thailand.
In April, Iran dropped its bid for a seat to represent Asia after enduring heavy criticism in February at the council’s first review meeting over its handling of human rights. Global opposition and international pressure, say human rights groups, can lead to the defeat of nations with poor human rights records, as happened to Belarus in 2007, Sri Lanka in 2008, and Azerbaijan in 2009.
Angola, Libya, Mauritania, and Uganda took the four open seats representing the African regional group. Libya received the least support of all the countries running in the election with 155 votes.
Ecuador and Guatemala are the only states that ran for the two Latin American seats this year. In the Western European and Other group, only Spain and Switzerland submitted their candidacy. And, in the Eastern European group, only Moldova and Poland ran for the two available seats, Croatia having withdrawn in February.
A member of the council can only be elected by an affirmative vote of more than half of the overall 192-nation General Assembly. The balloting process requires states to cast their votes by writing the names of the candidates they select.
The General Assembly resolution that created the Human Rights Council in 2006 envisioned an election process in which states would compete for membership based on the contribution they would make to promoting human rights.

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