United Nations: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council along with 12 other countries.
The other nations elected to the human rights wing of the UN are Angola, Australia, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, and Ukraine.
This Human Rights Council election by the UN General Assembly was the first one conducted with new ballot papers. In the past, ballot papers had been completely blank.
“Now, they contain the names of the candidate countries, along with additional space to inscribe other names. The idea was to make the process smoother,” said Brendan Varma, spokesperson of UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak.
During a news conference held at the UN headquarters in New York, Varma was asked for Lajcak’s reaction to member states distributing gifts in order to garner votes in the Human Rights Council elections, and whether there should be value caps on such gifts.
Varma said the UN General Assembly president believed that the election should be a competition between candidates – not a competition over who could give the most expensive gifts.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former chairwoman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, said now that countries like Qatar, Congo and Pakistan have joined the likes of Cuba, Venezuela and China in the UN Human Rights Council, the US must withdraw from it or “we legitimise” human rights abusers.
“For the UN to elect Qatar, Congo or Pakistan as a world judge on human rights is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.