US wins seat on UN rights council in uncontested election

US wins seat on UN rights council in uncontested election

United Nations: The United States won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council that former president Donald Trump denounced and quit, joining 17 other nations elected in uncontested votes Thursday that were criticized for guaranteeing spots to countries with abysmal rights records.

The 193-member UN General Assembly elected all 18 candidates proposed by the world organization's five regional groups. Benin was the top vote-getter with 189 votes, followed by Gambia with 186, while the United States with 168 and Eritrea with 144 were at the bottom of the list.

The absence of competition in this year's Human Rights Council vote makes a mockery of the word `election,' said Louis Charbonneau, the UN director for Human Rights Watch.

Electing serious rights abusers like Cameroon, Eritrea and the United Arab Emirates sends a terrible signal that UN member states aren't serious about the council's fundamental mission to protect human rights.

He said Cameroon's government has suppressed the opposition, crushed dissent and persecuted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Eritrean troops have committed widespread atrocities in neighboring Ethiopia's Tigray region and other serious rights violations, and the rights situation in the UAE remains dire" with prominent Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor imprisoned without a mattress in near-total isolation, he said.

The Geneva-based Human Rights Council was created in 2006 to replace a commission discredited because of some members' poor rights records.

But the new council soon came to face similar criticism, including that rights abusers sought seats to protect themselves and their allies.

Under the Human Rights Council's rules, seats are allocated to regions to ensure geographical representation.

The United States has criticized the selection of candidates with poor rights records on uncontested slates as well as the Human Rights Council's excessive criticism of Israel.

This culminated in the Trump administration's withdrawal from the council in June 2018.

When US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in February that the Biden administration was re-engaging with the council, he said Trump's withdrawal did nothing to encourage meaningful change, but instead created a vacuum of US leadership, which countries with authoritarian agendas have used to their advantage.

Next Story
Share it