Ousted Last Year, Russia Loses Bid To Regain Seat On UN Human Rights Council
UNITED NATIONS, (IANS) – Russia lost its bid to regain a seat on the Human Rights Council, failing to get enough votes in elections on October 10 after having been ousted from it last year.
China and Cuba, however, were elected to the Council by the General Assembly in secret ballots despite their questionable human rights records. Both countries are on the Council with terms ending this year and will serve another three-year term starting next year till 2026 end.
The 15 seats that came up by rotation for election this year to the 47-member Geneva-based Council were distributed according to its regional quotas, although all the 193 UN members voted on them.
There were contests only in the East European and the Latin American and Caribbean groups while the number of contestants matched the vacancies in the Asian and Western groups making their contests only a matter of formality, although reflecting on the popularity of the countries in the race.
Russia polled only 83 votes, the lowest of any country, and lost to Bulgaria which received 160 votes and Albania which got 123 for the two vacancies in the East European Group.
In the Latin American and Caribbean group, Cuba was elected with 146 votes, Brazil with 144, and Dominican Republic with 137. Peru, which polled only 108 votes lost.
China was elected to one of the four vacancies in the Asian group with 154 votes, along with Indonesia that received 186 votes – the highest of any country, Kuwait that polled 183 votes, and Japan that got 175.
In other uncontested elections, the Netherlands and France were elected for the Western Group, and Burundi, Ghana. Malawi and Cote d’Ivoire for the African Group.
After it invaded Ukraine, the General Assembly voted to remove Russia from the Council in April last year.
At that time 93 countries voted to remove it, while 58 countries abstained, and only 24 voted against its removal.
Russia has increased its support to 83, which is only one vote more than those who abstained and those who voted against ouster.
Ahead of election, Moscow prepared a defense of its defeat when its Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia asserted the US’s “main phobia” is his country’s election to Council and was campaigning against it. He was speaking at Monday’s Security Council meeting in Ukraine, which turned into a campaign spot for the election. US Deputy Permanent Representative Robert Wood said that it would be an “ugly stain” on the UN if Russia was elected while Albania’s Permanent Representative Ferit Hoxa urged against voting for Moscow as a matter of credibility.
China’s election was not controversial as it had the unanimous support of the Asia Group, and no one opposed it. India was re-elected to the Council in 2021 after completing a three-year term, but when its tenure ends next year. It is barred by Council rules against serving more than two consecutive terms.