UN criticised over latest picks for rights council

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The Philippines on Friday won a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council despite strong opposition from an global human rights group, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said. Akbaruddin also expressed his gratitude to the United Nations for their support towards India. India secured a total of 188 votes out of 193 which was the highest among all the 18 countries in the five regional categories.

From the Asia-Pacific region, five countries were running for the five vacancies.

The UNHRC meets three times a year, and reviews the human rights records of all UN members in a special process that gives countries the chance to say what they have done to improve human rights, known as the Universal Periodic Review. This victory is the fruitful outcome of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's policies which ensured the respect for and protection of human rights, and paved the way for reforms in various fields through the National Action Charter and the Constitution, the main sources of human rights in the kingdom, the National Institute for Human Rights (NIHR) said in a statement.

The Philippines was granted another three-year term in the council seat after 165 to 192 member-states voted for it, according to Ambassador Teodoro Locsin, Jr. - who is also the incoming DFA chief. Its last tenure had ended on December 31, 2017.

The new members of the Indian contingent will serve a term of three years beginning January 1, 2019. Nations required at least 97 votes to get chose to the Council.

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It was from 2007 to 2009 when the Philippines first served in the council, and then from 2012 to 2014.

The Human Rights Council comprises 47 elected Member States, and is categorised on the basis of equitable geographical distribution.

"The United States will continue to support reforms that would make the Human Rights' Council credible". However, India's election to the Council was all but certain as there were only five nations vying for the five seats in the Asia Pacific category.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier urged the United Nations member states to oppose the Philippines' bid for a seat in the UNHRC, citing the killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's war against illegal drugs.

In the nomination pledge, India presented a broader approach to human rights, emphasising climate justice, health and poverty alleviation.

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