21 May 2008
General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly


98th Meeting (AM)




The General Assembly today elected 15 States to serve three-year terms starting next month on the Human Rights Council, three of which will be sitting on the Geneva-based panel for the first time:† Burkina Faso; Chile; and Slovakia.

After a single round of secret balloting, the Assembly re-elected the following 12 members:† Argentina; Bahrain; Brazil; France; Gabon; Ghana; Japan; Pakistan; Republic of Korea; Ukraine; United Kingdom; and Zambia.† The terms of office for all 15 members will begin on 20 June.

The Human Rights Council was created by the General Assembly in May 2006 (resolution 60/251) as the United Nations principal political human rights body.† It replaced the much-criticized Commission on Human Rights (abolished in June 2006), and is composed of 47 elected Member States that must uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Based on equitable geographical distribution, seats are allocated to the five regional groups as follows:† African Group, 13 seats; Asian Group, 13 seats; Eastern European Group, 6 seats; Latin American and Caribbean Group, 8 seats; and Western and Others Group, 7 seats.

The Councilís founding resolution called for its first 47 members to be directly elected by an absolute majority of votes in the 192-member Assembly.† If Council members failed to uphold the highest human rights standards, they could be suspended by a two-thirds majority vote by Assembly members present at the meeting.

Also by that resolution, membership in the Council is open to all United Nations Member States.† Council members will serve for a three-year period and will not be eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.† But the Assembly further decided that the terms of membership will be staggered, and that such a decision would be taken for the first election by drawing lots, taking into account equitable regional distribution.

In that connection, after electing the Commissionís inaugural membership in 2006, the Assembly drew lots to select, among the elected members in each regional group, those members who will serve for one year (18), two years (15) and three years (14), respectively.† The 12 members re-elected today were serving one or two-year terms.

In other business today, the Assembly took note of the fact that Cape Verde had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.

Results of Voting

The results of the first round of voting were as follows:

African States (4 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Zambia (182)

Kenya (2)

Ghana (181)

Mali (2)

Burkina Faso (180)

Gambia (1)

Gabon (178)

Benin (1)

Asian States (4 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Japan (155)

Sri Lanka (101)

Bahrain (142)

Timor-Leste (92)

Republic of Korea (139)

Pakistan (114)

Eastern European States (2 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Slovakia (135)

Serbia (93)

Ukraine (125)

Czech Republic (9)

Latin American and Caribbean States (3 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Chile (176)

Venezuela (1)

Brazil (175)

Ecuador (1)

Argentina (172)

Western European and Other States (2 States)


Others Receiving Votes

France (123)

Spain (119)

United Kingdom (120)

Having obtained the required majority of votes of the members of the Assembly, the following States were elected members of the Human Rights Council for three-year terms of office beginning on 20 June: †Argentina; Bahrain; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Chile; France; Gabon; Ghana; Japan; Pakistan; Republic of Korea; Slovakia; Ukraine; United Kingdom; and Zambia.

The General Assembly will meet again at a time and date to be announced.

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For information media • not an official record