The UN General Assembly has elected India as top human rights body for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019. India, elected with the highest number of votes, won 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category.
Besides India, countries like Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji and Philippines, had also staked a claim in the Asia Pacific category.The 193-member UN General Assembly held elections for new members to the UN Human Rights Council. The 18 new members were elected by absolute majority through a secret ballot.
Countries needed a minimum of 97 votes to get elected to the Council.India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin told news agency PTI that India's win reflects the country's standing in the international community.
“Voting for a Happy Outcome. Thanks to the support of all our friends @UN , India wins seat to Human Rights Council with highest votes among all candidates,” Akbaruddin tweeted.
In January, India will join China and Nepal, besides Pakistan, which were elected to the 47-member Council in previous years to serve three-year terms. When it nominated itself for the Council, India showcased its position as “the world’s largest democracy (and) India’s secular polity.”
Before this, India was elected to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council for the 2011-2014 and 2014-2017 term. 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.
India’s presence on the Council will be important because the previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein asked the body to facilitate an international commission of inquiry into allegations of human rights violation in Kashmir.
(With agency inputs)