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India elected to UN Human Rights Council with the highest number of votes

India has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council with the highest number of votes for a period of 3 years starting from January 1, 2019. India received 188 votes in the Asia Pacific region, the highest polled by any of the 18 countries elected in the voting.

This is reportedly the fifth time India has been elected to the Geneva-based Council, which is the main body of the UN charged with promoting and monitoring human rights. Elections were held by secret ballot in the 193-member General Assembly on Friday, although the number of candidates for all the five regions matched the vacancies making it a formality. The other regional candidates were Bangladesh, Bahrain, Fiji and the Philippines.

In the nomination pledge, India pledged that it will continue to support international efforts to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. India also presented a broader approach to human rights, emphasising climate justice, health and poverty alleviation.

India’s presence in the UNHRC is significant considering that the previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein had asked the body to facilitate an international commission of enquiry into allegations of human rights violation in Kashmir which was backed by his successor Michelle Bachelet and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Pakistan, a member of the Council has been campaigning for the same.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin later told media that India’s win with the highest number of votes reflects India’s standing in the International comity.

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