[JURIST] The UN General Assembly [official website] on Friday elected [press release] 14 member-states by secret ballot to serve three-year terms on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) [official website] beginning January 1. The newly elected countries include Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Rwanda, Tunisia and the US. Countries re-elected for an additional term were China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Maldives was not considered because it had already served two consecutive terms on the HRC. The remaining 33 states will continue in their capacity as members.
The HRC is a UN body created in 2006 and charged with the responsibility to promote and protect all human rights [official backgrounder] around the globe and comprises a total of 47 elected member states. Council seats are allocated [UN News Centre report] on the basis of equitable geographic distribution to countries in Africa (13), the Asia-Pacific region (13), Eastern Europe (6), Latin America and Caribbean (8), Western Europe and others (7). Elections are held annually with the terms of many states expiring in 2017 and 2018. Last week the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed outrage [JURIST report] over the human rights crisis in Syria, stating that, “[t]he violations and abuses suffered by people across the country, including the siege and bombardment of eastern Aleppo, are not simply tragedies; they also constitute crimes of historic proportions.” Earlier this month a spokesman from the UN Human Rights office said the High Commissioner is “seriously concerned” [JURIST report] about human rights violations in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir.