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In Single Secret Ballot, General Assembly Elects 14 Member States to Three-Year Terms on Human Rights Council

13 November 2013

Department of Public Information 
News and Media Division
New York

12 November 2013

Sixty-eighth General Assembly
51st Meeting (AM)

Namibia , Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Viet Nam All First-Time Members

The General Assembly today elected 14 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 Algeria, China, Cuba, France, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom and Viet Nam.  All would serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2014.

The 14 outgoing members were Angola, Ecuador, Guatemala, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Uganda.  In accordance with Assembly resolution 60/251, those Member States were eligible for immediate re-election except those who had served two consecutive terms, namely, Angola and Qatar.

The 14 members were elected according to the following pattern: four seats for African States, four seats for Asia-Pacific States, two seats for Eastern European States, two seats for Latin American and Caribbean States, and two seats for Western European and o ther States.

Of those elected, Namibia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Viet Nam will be sitting on the Geneva-based panel for the first time.  Re-elected for an additional term was Maldives, while Algeria, China, Cuba, France, Mexico, Morocco, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and United Kingdom had served previous non-consecutive terms.

Assembly President John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) announced that the following States would also continue as members of the Council:  Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Montenegro, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, United Arab Emirates, United States and Venezuela.

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 2013 and June 2014 had been exceptionally extended until the end of the respective calendar year.

Created by the General Assembly in May 2006 (resolution 60/251) as the principal United Nations body dealing with human rights, the 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 o ther States, 7 seats.

The Council’s founding resolution calls for the direct election of its members by an absolute majority of votes in the 193-member Assembly, or 97 votes.  Members can be suspended by a two-thirds majority vote if deemed to be deficient in upholding human rights standards.  Membership, which is staggered, is open to all Member States, and members are not eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 13 November, to consider the report of the Human Rights Council.

Voting Results for Human Rights Council

The results of the secret ballot were as follows:

African States (4 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

South Africa (169)

Tunisia (2)

Algeria (164)

Morocco (163)

Namibia (150)

Not Elected

South Sudan (89)

Asia-Pacific States (4 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Viet Nam (184)

Jordan (16)

China (176)

Iran (1)

Maldives (164)

Singapore (1)

Saudi Arabia (140)

Thailand (1)

Eastern European States (2 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (177)

Slovakia (1)

Russian Federation (176)

Latvia (1)

Latin American and Caribbean States (2 seats)


Cuba (148)

Mexico (135)

Not Elected

Uruguay (93)

Western European and Other States (2 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

France (174)

Andorra (1)

United Kingdom (171)

Greece (1)

Luxembourg (1)

Portugal (1)

San Marino (1)

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For information media • not an official record