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India wins re-election to UN Human Rights Council

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UN human right council

United Nations, (PTI) In a significant victory, India was today re-elected to the UN’s main human rights body for the period of 2015-17, receiving the highest number of votes in the Asia-Pacific group.

India is currently a member of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and its first term is due to end on December 31, 2014.

After India’s re-election, the country’s Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji emphasised that the country’s focus will be to make the UN human rights system more effective and address issues through a constructive approach.

India was seeking re-election to the UN body, the elections for which were held here today in the UN General Assembly.

India was competing in the Asia-Pacific group in which four seats were up for election. The other countries competing in the group were Indonesia, Bangladesh, Qatar, Thailand, Kuwait, Cambodia, Philippines and Bahrain.

Out of them, India, Bangladesh, Qatar and Indonesia made it to the UNHRC.

India received 162 votes, the highest number in the Asia-Pacific group.

Apart from India, the other 14 member states elected to the Human Rights Council for a three-year term of office beginning January 1, 2015, are Albania, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, the Congo, El Salvador, Ghana, Indonesia, Latvia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Paraguay, Portugal and Qatar.

After the results were announced in the UN General Assembly, Mukerji told PTI that India’s focus is to ensure that the “idea behind creating the Human Rights Council is actually implemented in practice.”

Mukerji emphasised that India wants to “build constructively and have space for dialogue” to find ways to redress issues of human rights.

He said a constructive approach will be more sustainable in addressing issues than engaging in a “polarised discourse”.

Mukerji noted that playing an important role in the elections was the “impulse and dynamism” of the new Narendra Modi-led government which has focussed on the rights and obligations towards weaker sections of society.

“Those messages have reached to a vast number of people across the world. The position taken by the countries is an endorsement that the government of India is doing something to address issue of human rights and empower its citizens,” Mukerji said.

India has had a winning streak in UN elections.

Mukerji said that through the election victories, India has consistently proved that in the UN family, its standing is a “high one”.

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