European & International News

Russia seeks seat on UN Human Rights Council

(Brussels 25 September) The United Nations Human Rights Council is up for election this November. This inter-governmental body within the United Nations system is made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.

Membership is currently limited at 47 states, distributed geographically in the following manner:

African States: 13 seats
Asian States: 12 seats
Latin American and Carribean States: 8 seats
Western European and other States: 7 seats
Eastern European States: 6 seats.

From the countries covered by the European Women’s Lobby membership,

Membership of the Human Rights Council is awarded on a rotating basis, with different terms served by different states concurrently. The states who will leave the UNHRC in 2013 include

  1. Angola
  2. Ecuador
  3. Guatemala
  4. Libya [1]
  5. Malaysia
  6. Maldives
  7. Mauritania
  8. Poland
  9. Qatar
  10. Republic of Moldova
  11. Spain
  12. Switzerland
  13. Thaliand
  14. Uganda.

Candidate countries to replace these 14 states include the following applications from the Russian Federation. In its supporting document, delivered on the 17th of July, it states that the Russian Federation “in international forums and in its domestic policy, the Russian Federation places a particular focus on countering racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. A significant portion of the Russian Federation’s voluntary
contribution to the budget of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights goes to combating discrimination.” Another candidate country for this region is FYROM.

France and Great Britain make up the other two candidates to replace Spain and Switzerland in the Western European and Other states block.

* The rights of membership to the Human Rights Council of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya were suspended by the General Assembly on 1 March 2011 and restored on 18 November 2011

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