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General Assembly Elects 18 Members to Human Rights Council, Confirms Six States Nominated to Programme and Coordination Committee

28 October 2015

The General Assembly today elected 18 States to serve on the Human Rights Council, the United Nations body responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.

Those elected were Belgium, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Panama, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, Togo, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. All would serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2016.

The 18 outgoing members were Argentina, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Montenegro, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, United Arab Emirates, United States and Venezuela. In accordance with Assembly resolution 60/251, those Member States were eligible for immediate re-election except the delegation which had served two consecutive terms, namely, the United States.

The 18 new members were elected according to the following pattern: five seats for African States, five seats for Asia-Pacific States, two seats for Eastern European States, three seats for Latin American and Caribbean States and three seats for Western European and other States.

Of those elected, Burundi, Georgia, Togo, Mongolia and Panama will be sitting on the Geneva-based body for the first time. Re-elected for an additional term was Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Germany, Kenya, Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Assembly President Federico A. Gonzàlez announced that the following States would also continue as members of the Human Rights Council: Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, China, Congo, Cuba, El Salvador, France, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom and Viet Nam.

He noted that, in accordance with Assembly resolution 65/281, beginning in 2013, the Human Rights Council would start its yearly membership cycle on 1 January. As a transitional measure, the period of office of its members ending in June 2015 had been exceptionally extended until the end of the calendar year.

Created by the Assembly in May 2006 (resolution 60/251) as the principal United Nations body dealing with human rights, the Human Rights Council comprises 47 elected Member States. On the basis of equitable geographical distribution, Council seats are allocated to the five regional groups as follows: African States, 13 seats; Asia-Pacific States, 13 seats; Eastern European States, 6 seats; Latin American and Caribbean States, 8 seats; and Western European and other States, 7 seats.

Ahead of that action, the Assembly also declared six States nominated by the Economic and Social Council, namely Argentina, France, Peru, Russian Federation, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination — the main subsidiary organ of the Council and the Assembly for planning, programming and coordination. Their three-year term of office would begin on 1 January 2016.

Argentina and Zimbabwe would fill vacancies that will occur on 31 December 2015, as a result of the expiration of the terms of office of Botswana and El Salvador. France, Peru, Russian Federation and the United Republic of Tanzania will, whose terms of office also expire at year’s end 2015, were re-elected for another term.

They join Committee members Armenia, Belarus, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Iran, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The States were elected according to the following pattern: two seats among the African States; one seat among the Eastern European States; two seats among the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two seats among the Western European and other States. The Assembly postponed the nomination of one member from the Western European and other States for election for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2016.

Member States were reminded that there was one vacancy from among the Western European and other States for a term beginning on the date of election and expiring on 31 December 2015, and one vacancy each from the Asia-Pacific States and the Western European and other States for a term beginning on the date of election and expiring on 31 December 2017. The Assembly would act on those vacancies upon nomination by the Economic and Social Council.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, 30 October, to discuss the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council.

Voting Results for Human Rights Council

African States (5 seats)

Elected

Togo

189

Ethiopia

186

Côte d’Ivoire

186

Kenya

180

Burundi

162

Others Receiving Votes

Uganda

12

Cameroon

2

Benin

1

Lesotho

1

Asia-Pacific States (5 seats)

Elected

Mongolia

172

United Arab Emirates

159

Kyrgyzstan

147

Republic of Korea

136

Philippines

113

Not Elected

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

105

Pakistan

105

Others Receiving Votes

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

1

Kazakhstan

1

Thailand

1

Eastern European States (2 seats)

Elected

Slovenia

179

Georgia

177

Others Receiving Votes

Romania

1

Hungary

1

Latin American and Caribbean States (3 seats)

Elected

Panama

157

Ecuador

152

Venezuela

131

Not Elected

Bahamas

113

Western European and Other States (3 seats)

Elected

Switzerland

176

Germany

174

Belgium

172

Others Receiving Votes

Luxembourg

1

Sweden

1