PH wins seat in United Nations human rights body


This is the fifth time India has been elected to the Geneva-based Council, the main body of the United Nations charged with promoting and monitoring human rights.

New members Bahrain, Cameroon, the Philippines, Somalia, Bangladesh and Eritrea were elected with between 160 and 178 votes - and immediately drew criticism from campaigners in Europe and North America dismissing them as "unqualified" due to their human rights records.

With the victory, the Philippines will get to serve a fresh three-year term in the 47-member council based in Geneva from 2019 to 2021.

"The election of the Philippines was expected because the Asian group fielded as many candidates as there were seats in the Human Rights Council", she added.

So far, no other country has backed Zeid's call for the investigation.

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Serious rights violations in Bahrain and Cameroon also raise significant concerns, it said.

Following the election, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said that India's win with the highest number of votes reflects the country's standing in the worldwide comity.

The rights group accused the Duterte administration of conducting a bloody campaign that, it said, had left thousands of drug suspects dead in a "killing frenzy".

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the country's reelection to the council for another three-year term is "a recognition that our government respects human rights and will not tolerate abuse by those in authority".

The group also cited Duterte's intolerance of any kind of opposition and his verbal attacks against critics of the drug war such as United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, and High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

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'This lack of standards continues to undermine the organization and demonstrates again why the United States was right to withdraw from it earlier this year'. It meets three times a year and its aim is to promote and protect human rights around the world.

"Getting a seat in the UN Human Rights Council is a repudiation of the critics and detractors on President Duterte's unrelenting war against illegal drugs", he said in a statement. "We will work in a balanced way to protect human rights of the world", the United Nations envoy had told.

The UN set up the council in 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights, which faced widespread criticism for letting countries with poor human rights records become members.

The elections had been criticized by a host of other human rights groups as well.

The other countries elected to the UNHRC were Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, India, Italy, Togo and Uruguay.

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