In Single Secret Ballot, General Assembly Elects 15 Member States to Serve Three-year Terms on Human Rights Council

20 May 2011

In Single Secret Ballot, General Assembly Elects 15 Member States to Serve Three-year Terms on Human Rights Council

20 May 2011
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly


89th Meeting (AM)

In Single Secret Ballot, General Assembly Elects 15 Member States


to Serve Three-year Terms on Human Rights Council


Text Adopted on Event to Review Progress in Implementing HIV/AIDS Commitment

The General Assembly today elected 15 States to serve on the Human Rights Council for three-year terms beginning next month, in a single round of secret balloting which followed the candidates’ nomination by their respective regional groups.

Of those elected, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Congo, Costa Rica and Kuwait will be sitting on the Geneva-based panel for the first time.  Re-elected for an additional term were Burkina Faso and Chile, while the Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Italy, Philippines, Peru and Romania had served previous non-consecutive terms.

Assembly President Joseph Deiss ( Switzerland) said the following States would continue as members of the Council:   Angola; Bangladesh; Belgium; Cameroon; China; Cuba; Djibouti; Ecuador; Guatemala; Hungary; Jordan; Kyrgyzstan; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Nigeria; Norway; Poland; Qatar; Republic of Moldova; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Spain; Switzerland; Thailand; Uganda; United States; and Uruguay.

He noted that Libya remained on the list of Council States, but its status was subject to Assembly resolution 65/265 of 1 March.  By that text, the world body voted unanimously to suspend the North African country’s membership in the wake of Muammar al-Qadhafi’s violent crackdown on civilian protests against his Government.  The Assembly also agreed to “review the matter as appropriate”.

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 the direct election of its members by an absolute majority of votes in the 192-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.  The terms of office for all members elected today will begin on 19 June.

Voting Results

The results of the secret ballot were as follows:

African States (4 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Benin (174)

Democratic Republic of the Congo (3)

Botswana (177)

South Africa (1)

Burkina Faso (182)

Egypt (1)

Congo (176)

Asian States (4 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

India (181)

Syria (5)

Indonesia (184)

Philippines (183)

Kuwait (166)

Eastern European States (2 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Czech Republic (148)


Romania (131)

Not Elected

Georgia (89)

Latin American and Caribbean States (3 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Chile (159)


Costa Rica (138)

Peru (136)

Not Elected

Nicaragua (98)

Western European and Other States (2 seats)


Others Receiving Votes

Austria (155)

Australia (2)

Italy (180)

Ahead of the voting, the Assembly took note of document A/65/691/Add.11, in which the Secretary-General informs the world body that Rwanda has made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.  [Article 19 provides that any Member State falling behind in paying its dues will lose the right to vote in the Assembly.]

In other business, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the arrangements for its high-level meeting to review the progress achieved in realizing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the accompanying Political Declaration, to be held from 8 to 10 June.  By that text, the meeting’s opening plenary would be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 8 June.

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

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