US confirms seat in United Nations Human Rights Council with an undisputed win in the elections

The 193-member UN General Assembly elected all 18 candidates recommended by the world organisation’s five regional groups.

The United States acquired a seat on the UN Human Rights Council that Ex-president Donald Trump criticised and departed, joining 17 other nations selected in unanimous votes Thursday that were reprimanded for securing spots to countries with appalling rights violations.

The 193-member UN General Assembly elected all 18 candidates recommended by the world organisation’s five regional groups. Benin was the top vote-getter with 189 votes, accompanied by the 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 stifled the opposition, suppressed dissent and persecuted the LQBTQ+ community.

Eritrean troops have performed extensive brutality in nearby Ethiopia’s Tigray region and other grave rights breaches. The rights situation in the UAE “remains dire” with notable Emirati human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor detained without a bed in near-total isolation, he said.

The Geneva-based Human Rights Council was founded in 2006 to succeed a commission distrusted due to some members’ weak rights records. However, the new council faces related objections, including that rights abusers endeavoured seats to defend themselves and their allies.

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

The United States has reprimanded the election of applicants with poor rights reports on uncontested slates and the Human Rights Council’s harsh critique of Israel. This climaxed in the Trump administration’s departure from the council in June 2018.

When US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared in February that the Biden administration was re-engaging with the council, he said Trump’s departure did nothing to promote significant development, but instead produced a void of US leadership, which nations with tyrannical agendas have used to their benefit.

In a statement Thursday acknowledging UN member states for allowing the US to work on the 47-nation body, Blinken said the United States, collectively with other countries, must push back against efforts to undermine the goals upon which the Human Rights Council was established.

He said the council has a vital role in documenting offences to keep lawbreakers responsible but added that it also experiences severe defects, including excessive concentration on Israel and the membership of several states with outrageous human rights reports.

The 18 countries selected for three-year terms starting January 1 were Benin, Gambia, Cameroon, Somalia and Eritrea from the Africa group; India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar and UAE from the Asia group; Lithuania and Montenegro from the East European group; Paraguay, Argentina and Honduras from the Latin America and Caribbean group; and Finland, Luxembourg and the United States from the mainly Western nations group.