Australia elected to UNHCR as criticisms surround Congo election


Human Rights Watch called for elections to be competitive.

The Democratic Republic of Congo was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday despite opposition from the United States and a leading rights group.

Haley previously dangled the possibility that the United States could quit the council during a visit to its Geneva headquarters in June, when she lambasted the 47-nation body as a "forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion" that allows rights abusers to whitewash their images and foes of Israel to criticize the Jewish state unfairly.

The 15 new members were elected according to the following pattern: four seats for African States; four seats for Asia-Pacific States; three seats for Latin American and Caribbean States; two seats for Eastern European States; and two seats for Western European and other States.

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She made no mention of a USA withdrawal from the council.

Her statement echoed that of Human Rights Watch's United Nations director Louis Charbonneau, who warned before the vote that the Congo's election would "undermine the founding principles and credibility" of the U.N. body.

"I believe it is an opportunity for other countries to scrutinise their record and hold them to account", Ms Bishop said. "What happened in #DRC last [year] makes their election to @UN_HRC entirely disappointing".

"It would also be a serious affront to the countless victims of government abuses and to the work of courageous Congolese activists", Charbonneau said in a statement.

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The US administration has threatened to quit the rights council, citing its anti-Israeli bias after it voted to compile a list of companies that have dealings with Israeli settlements.

In a statement after the 193-member General Assembly voted Congo onto the Human Rights Council as part of an uncontested African slate for a three-year term starting January 1, Haley said the rights organization "cannot endure many more blows to its credibility before it is rendered absolutely meaningless".

If Australia's bid is signed off it will be the first time it has served on the council.

Angola, Senegal, Slovakia, Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Australia and Spain were also elected to the body on Monday, while Nigeria and Qatar won second terms.

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