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India Abstains at UNHRC

Context:

Recently, India abstained on a vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Council moved the resolution to set up an international commission of enquiry into Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

  • India has also abstained from similar resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly and United Nations Security Council.
Relevance:

GS II- International Relations (Bilateral Groupings & Agreements)

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About UN Human Rights Council
  2. Membership
  3. Issues

About UN Human Rights Council:

  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of 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

  • The Council is made of 47 Member States, which are elected by the majority of members of the General Assembly of the United Nations through direct and secret ballot.
  • The General Assembly takes into account the candidate States’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.

The Council’s Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution. Seats are distributed as follows:

  • African States: 13 seats
  • Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats
  • Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats
  • Western European and other States: 7 seats
  • Eastern European States: 6 seats

Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

Issues:

  • A key concern for some critics has been the composition of Council membership, which sometimes includes countries widely perceived as human rights abusers.
  • China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses.
  • US pulled out of the Agency in 2018 due to its disproportionate focus on Israel, which has received by far the largest number of critical council resolutions against any country.
  • The US has joined the organization again.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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