18 New Human Rights Council Members for 2013-2016
2012 Human Rights Council (HRC) Elections
On November 12, 2012, the General Assembly elected 18 new members to the Council to serve terms beginning January 1, 2013.
Background: The Human Rights Council is comprised of 47 UN Member states, with each state serving a three-year term and eligible for election for no more than two consecutive terms. As with the Security Council and Economic and Social Council, the Human Rights Council is elected directly and individually by the majority of the members of the General Assembly through secret ballot. Similarly, seats on the Council are allotted according to geographic delineations, with 13 seats belonging to African states, 13 seats belonging to Asian states, 6 seats belonging to Eastern European states, 8 seats belonging to Latin American and Caribbean states, and 7 seats belonging to Western European and other states.
- Africa - Of its 13 total seats, 5 were up for election last month. These seats were most recently occupied by Cameroon, Djibouti, Mauritius, Nigeria and Senegal.
- Asia - Of its 13 total seats, 5 were up for election last month. These seats were most recently occupied by Bangladesh, China, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia.
- Eastern Europe - Of its 6 total seats, 2 were up for election last month. These seats were most recently occupied by Hungary and the Russian Federation.
- Latin America and Caribbean - Of its 8 total states, 3 were up for election last month. These seats were most recently occupied by Cuba, Mexico and Uruguay.
- Western Europe and others - Of its 7 total seats, 3 were up for election last month. These seats were most recently occupied by Belgium, Norway and the United States.
Candidates and Contested Seats:
- Africa - Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya and Sierra Leone. With 5 candidates and 5 vacancies, no seats in this election were considered contested.
- Asia - Japan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Republic of Korea and United Arab Emirates. With 5 candidates and 5 vacancies, no seats in this election were considered contested.
- Eastern Europe - Estonia, Montenegro. With 2 candidates and 2 vacancies, no seats in this election were considered contested.
- Latin America and Caribbean - Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. With 3 candidates and 3 vacancies, no seats in this election were considered contested.
- Western Europe and others - Germany, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and United States. With 5 candidates and 3 vacancies, this election was the only one whose seats were considered contested and an election by secret ballot was needed.
Results: Having obtained the requisite majority of votes, the following states were elected to the Council, and shall serve terms beginning next year: Argentina, Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Montenegro, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Venezuela. They will join Angola, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Uganda to comprise the 47 member state Human Rights Council beginning January 1, 2013.
Commentary: Non-governmental organizations, especially those concerned with human rights, continue to criticize the UN for holding "no contest" or "closed slate" elections, citing their concern that states can effectively be elected without objection despite their sometimes questionable (and even troublesome) human rights records. Importantly, proposals made during the Council's review process last year to eliminate such elections and to create a process of public assessment to improve members' accountability in attempting to realize the promises and standards outlined in the document that established the Council (Resolution 60/251) were not adopted.
(Information sourced from the International Service for Human Rights' article "Four of Five Regional Groups Run ‘Closed Slates' in Human Rights Council Elections" and the General Assembly of the United Nations' article "Election of the Human Rights Council.")