US elected to UN rights council seat for first time

[JURIST] The US was elected [press release] to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] for the first time Tuesday. The US received 90 percent of the votes from the UN General Assembly [official website]. In total, 18 countries were elected to the 47-member council responsible for the global promotion of human rights. Countries with questionable human rights records such as China, Cuba, Russia, and Saudi Arabia [JURIST news archives] were re-elected under criticism [AP report] from human rights groups. Former Czech president Vaclav Havel on Sunday called the elections a "farce" [NYT op-ed], saying the lack of competition - only 20 countries running for 18 seats - "ensur[es] there is no opportunity to choose the best proponents of human rights each region has to offer."

In April, the US State Department [official website] released [press release; JURIST report] its commitments and pledges [text; PDF] to human rights in anticipation of Tuesday's election. The US announced its intent to seek a seat on the council [JURIST report] in early April, hoping to affect more change by working from inside the council than by boycotting the effort. The UNHRC was created [JURIST report] in 2006, at which time the Bush administration declined to seek a Council seat or participate in its proceedings due to a perceived anti-Israeli sentiment by the UNHRC.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.