General Assembly Fills 14 Seats on Human Rights Council; Approves Funds for Higher UN Troop, Police Levels in Haiti; Sets Date for Communicable Diseases Meeting

13 May 2010
GA/10939

General Assembly Fills 14 Seats on Human Rights Council; Approves Funds for Higher UN Troop, Police Levels in Haiti; Sets Date for Communicable Diseases Meeting

13 May 2010
General Assembly
GA/10939
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Plenary

86th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Fills 14 Seats on Human Rights Council; Approves Funds for Higher

UN Troop, Police Levels in Haiti; Sets Date for Communicable Diseases Meeting

The General Assembly today elected 14 States to serve on the Human Rights Council for three-year terms starting next month, after all of them ran unopposed, following nominations by the regional groups of the exact number required to fill the Council’s vacancies.

Of those elected today, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Republic of Moldova, Spain, Thailand and Uganda will be sitting on the Geneva-based panel for the first time.  Re-elected for an additional term were Angola and Qatar.   Ecuador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Poland and Switzerland had served in earlier non-consecutive terms.

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 are pledged to 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 Council’s founding resolution called for its members to be directly elected by an absolute majority of votes in the 192-member Assembly, or 97 votes.  Members could be suspended by a two-thirds majority vote by Assembly members if they are deemed to be deficient in upholding human rights standards.

Membership in the Council, which is staggered, is open to all United Nations Member States.  Council members are not eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.

The terms of office for all members elected today will begin on 18 June.

Voting Results

The results of the one round of secret ballot voting were as follows:

African States (4 seats)

Elected

Others Receiving Votes

Angola (170 votes)

None

Libya (155)

Mauritania (167)

Uganda (164)

Asian States (4 seats)

Elected

Others Receiving Votes

Malaysia (179 votes)

None

Maldives (185)

Qatar (177)

Thailand (182)

Eastern European States (2 seats)

Elected

Others Receiving Votes

Poland (171)

None

Moldova (175)

Latin American and Caribbean States (2 seats)

Elected

Others Receiving Votes

Ecuador (180 votes)

Peru (1)

Guatemala (180)

Western European and Other States (2 seats)

Elected

Others Receiving Votes

Spain (177 votes)

None

Switzerland (175)

In other business today, the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of $120.64 million for the operation of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, to support a rise in troop and police levels.  The Assembly acted unanimously on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), contained in the Committee’s report (document A/64/774).  (For details of the Committee’s vote, see Press Release GA/AB/3947 of 7 May.)

The Assembly’s decision followed the adoption by the Security Council on 19 January of resolution 1908 (2010), by which the 15-member body endorsed the increase in the Mission’s overall force levels to support the immediate recovery, reconstruction and stability efforts following the January earthquake.

The Assembly also unanimously adopted a draft resolution contained in document A/64/L.52, by which it decided to convene a high-level meeting on “Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases” in September 2011 with the participation of Heads of State and Government.  Towards that goal, it encouraged Member States to include in their discussion at the upcoming Assembly high-level plenary meeting in September on the review of the Millennium Development Goals the rising incidence and socio-economic impact of the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases worldwide.

Introducing that draft on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the representative of Trinidad and Tobago said that non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, accounted for 60 per cent of all deaths globally, but had not received the level of attention, coordination or funding that reflected their staggering mortality rate or socioeconomic impact.  “Today, we begin the process of changing that oversight,” she said.

The representatives of Spain (on behalf of the European Union) and the United States welcomed that adoption after the vote.   Spain’s representative, pledging the Union’s action on the issue, said that many of the diseases under discussion were avoidable and that prevention activities should focus on raising public awareness, improving knowledge and reinforcing preventive measures.  Noting a lack of statistical data, he considered the World Health Organization (WHO) most likely to play a major role in developing and utilizing standardized indicators.

The representative of the United States said it was committed to reducing the threat of non-communicable diseases through initiatives of the President’s wife, Michelle Obama, and support to actions by other countries in a way that was complementary to the global strategies of the WHO.

Also this morning, the Assembly took note of the fact that Kiribati had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears in dues below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter, allowing it to retain its voting privileges.

At the opening of the meeting, the Assembly observed a minute of silence in honour of the late President of Nigeria Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua. Led off by Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the representatives of Cameroon (on behalf of the African States), Bangladesh (on behalf of the Asian States), Hungary (on behalf of the Eastern European States), Peru (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States), Australia (on behalf of the Western European and other States) and the United States (as host country) paid tribute to President Yar’Adua, with speakers also expressing condolences for the loss of life in yesterday’s crash of a Libyan airliner.  The representatives of Nigeria and Libya expressed their gratitude for those sentiments.

Secretary-General Ban said that the late Nigerian President had left an important mark on his country during his relatively short period in office.  “He will be remembered for his unwavering contribution to democratic governance, economic revitalization and, in particular, his determined efforts to bring peace to the Niger Delta region,” he said.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.