US slams UN Human Rights Council after Pakistan, China, Russia's inclusion
- Mike Pompeo slammed the UN body for electing China, Russia and Cuba to the Human Rights Council
- A coilition of human rights groups from Europe, Canada and the US also opposed their election to the UNHRC
- Pakistan has been serving on the UNHRC since January 1, 2018
Despite strong opposition from activist groups over their dismal human rights records, Pakistan, China, Russia and Cuba have won seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The 193-member UN General Assembly on Tuesday held a secret-ballot voting, in which Pakistan secured 169 votes, with Uzbekistan, Nepal and China garnering 164, 150 and 139 each, PTI reported. Saudi Arabia lost the race with 90 votes.
Taking to Twitter, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tore into the UN body for electing China, Russia and Cuba to the agency tasked with defending human rights.
“The election of China, Russia, and Cuba to the UN Human Rights Council validates the US decision to withdraw from the Council in 2018 and use other venues to protect and promote universal human rights. At #UNGA this year, we did just that,” Pompeo tweeted.
“US commitment to human rights is far more than just words. We have identified and punished human rights abusers in Xinjiang, Myanmar, Iran, and elsewhere, and call for all nations to take this moment to recommit to the #UDHR,” he said in another tweet.
A coalition of human rights groups from Europe, Canada and the United States had last week urged UN member states to oppose the election of China, Russia, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Uzbekistan, saying their human rights records makes them unqualified.
“The bad news: governments just elected China to the UN Human Rights Council despite its severe repression in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong. The good news: the number of governments voting for it declined from 180 last time to 139 now. The fear is melting,” Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth tweeted after the vote.
Pakistan has been serving on the UNHRC since January 1, 2018 and will continue as a member for another three-year term starting January 1, 2021 following its re-election.
Under the UNHRC’s rules, seats are given to regions to ensure geographical representation.
Except for the Asia-Pacific contest, election of 15 members to the 47-member Human Rights Council has been decided in advance as the other regional groups had uncontested slates. A country needs to obtain at least 97 votes, the required majority, to be elected.
Since its inception in 2006, this is the fifth time that Pakistan has been elected to the UNHRC.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his delight following his country’s re-election.
“We remain committed to upholding human rights for all, prioritizing advancement of tolerance and constructive engagement. We stand resolute against Islamophobia and in support of mutual respect,” Khan said.
Earlier, the Foreign Office in Islamabad said Pakistan “remains firmly committed to upholding, promoting and safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms for all and will sustain its efforts towards ensuring that the HRC’s work is guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, dialogue and cooperation.”