US among 18 nations elected to UN Human Rights Council

US Amb. Susan Rice congratulated by delegates on winning a seat on Human Rights Council for the first time

12 May 2009 – The General Assembly today elected 18 countries to serve on the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council for three-year terms starting next month, including – for the first time – Belgium, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Norway and the United States.

The 47-member Council replaced the Human Rights Commission – which faced increasing criticism over the years as being ineffective and not accountable – in 2006.

The Assembly also re-elected Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Jordan, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Uruguay. All 18 members elected today will begin their terms on 19 June.

In March, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had welcomed the announcement by the US that it would seek a seat on the Council, saying it embodies the country’s commitment to a “new era of engagement.”

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Ban welcomes US decision to seek seat on UN Human Rights Council

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