12 November 2012
General Assembly
GA/11310

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

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

General Assembly Plenary

34th Meeting (AM)


In Single Secret Ballot, General Assembly Elects 18 Member States

 

to Serve Three-Year Terms on Human Rights Council

 


Also Elects Seven Members of Committee for Programme and Coordination


The General Assembly today elected 18 States to serve on the Human Rights Council, the United Nations key forum for tackling entrenched human rights concerns around the world.


Those elected were Argentina, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Montenegro, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Venezuela.  All would serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2013.  These States are the first round of Council members whose terms of office would begin on 1 January, and not in June.


Of those elected, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Montenegro, Sierra Leone, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela will be sitting on the Geneva-based panel for the first time.  Re-elected for an additional term was the United States, while Argentina, Brazil, Gabon, Germany, Japan, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea had served previous non-consecutive terms.


Assembly President Vuk Jeremić announced that the following States would also continue as members of the Council:  Angola, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chile, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Uganda.


He noted that, in accordance with Assembly resolution 65/281, beginning in 2013, the Human Rights Council would start its yearly membership cycle on 1 January.  As a transitional measure, the period of office of its members ending in June 2012, June 2013 and June 2014 had been exceptionally extended until the end of the respective calendar year.


Created by the General Assembly in May 2006 (resolution 60/251) as the principal United Nations political body dealing with human rights, the Council replaced the much-criticized Commission on Human Rights, abolished in June 2006, and comprises 47 elected Member States that are pledged to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.  On the basis of equitable geographical distribution, Council 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 the Western and Others Group, 7 seats.


The Council’s founding resolution calls for the direct election of its members by an absolute majority of votes in the 193-member Assembly, or 97 votes.  Members can be suspended by a two-thirds majority vote if deemed to be deficient in upholding human rights standards.  Membership, which is staggered, is open to all Member States, and members are not eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.


Based on recent nominations made by the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly also elected, by consensus, seven members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination.  They would serve three‑year terms beginning 1 January 2013.


Those seats were distributed as follows:  two seats for African States (Botswana, the United Republic of Tanzania); one for Eastern European States (Russian Federation); two for Latin American and Caribbean States (Peru); and two seats for Western Europe and Other States (France).


The Council had earlier postponed to a later date its consideration of one seat for the Latin American and Caribbean States and one seat for the Western European and Other States.


The President also noted that the following States would remain members of the Committee:  Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belarus, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.


For that election, delegates had before them for consideration a note by the Secretary General on the Election of seven members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (document A/67/125).  The note clarifies that members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination are nominated by the Economic and Social Council and elected by the Assembly, and states that those elected today would fill the vacancies in the Committee that will occur on 31 December 2012 upon the expiration of the terms of office of the following members:  Comoros, France, Haiti, Israel, Namibia, Russian Federation and Venezuela.


Voting Results for Human Rights Council


The results of the secret ballot were as follows:


African States (5 seats)


Elected

Others Receiving Votes

Gabon (187)

Sudan (4)

Côte d’Ivoire(183)


Sierra Leone (182)


Kenya (180)


Ethiopia (178)


Asian States (5 seats)


Elected


United Arab Emirates (184)


Kazakhstan (183)


Japan (182)


Republic of Korea (176)


Pakistan (171)


Eastern European States (2 seats)


Elected


Estonia (184)


Montenegro (182)


Latin American and Caribbean States (3 seats)


Elected

Others Receiving Votes

Brazil (184)

Argentina (176)

Bolivia (2)

Panama (1)

Venezuela (154)


Western European and Other States (3 seats)


Elected

Others Receiving Votes

United States (131)

Netherlands (1)

Germany (127)


Ireland (124)


Not Elected


Greece (78)


Sweden (75)


* *** *


For information media • not an official record