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Germany gets on UN Human Rights Council
Photo: DPA

Germany gets on UN Human Rights Council

Published: 13 Nov 2012 08:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Nov 2012 08:28 GMT+01:00

The United States and Germany won a closely contested race Monday among western nations for UN Human Rights Council seats, while the likes of Venezuela and Pakistan secured places without a competitive vote.

Rights groups condemned the "pre-cooked" arrangements by most continental groups at the 193-member UN General Assembly which gave council seats to countries whose records have been widely questioned.

The United States, Germany and Ireland won the only open election among western nations.

All the other regional groups nominated "clean slate" groups of countries with no competitive voting.

Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya and Sierra Leone will join for Africa; Japan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Korea and United Arab Emirates for Asia; Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Estonia and Montenegro for Eastern Europe.

Venezuela got 154 votes, more than the United States, 131, or Germany, 127.

"To call the vote in the General Assembly an 'election' gives this process way too much credit," said Peggy Hicks, a Human Rights Watch specialist. "Until there is real competition for seats in the Human Rights Council, its membership standards will remain more rhetoric than reality."

Peter Wittig, Germany's UN ambassador, said the open competition by the western nations should be "an example for other regional groups."

Some observers had said the United States risked not getting a place as it had entered the contest so late.

"We thank the countries that voted for us in what was a highly competitive race among several qualified western candidates that are all strong champions of human rights," said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a statement.

"We pledge to continue to work closely with the international community to address urgent and serious human rights concerns worldwide and to strengthen the council," Clinton added.

"While much hard work remains to be done, especially ending the council's disproportionate and biased focus on Israel, we look forward to cooperating with other council members to continue to address human rights concerns and to ensure that the Council fully realizes its promise."

AFP/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:32 November 13, 2012 by StoutViking
That's a step-up!

...From Saudi Arabia.
16:10 November 13, 2012 by marimay
Really? Handicapped people aren't even allowed to use a public restroom in germany...
20:02 November 13, 2012 by raandy
There goes the neighbor hood.
23:41 November 13, 2012 by DOZ
What! No Canada. LOL
01:16 November 14, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Why is Westerwelle in the picuture? He and Human Rights are far removed. He would have us all working in 400 Euro jobs if he had his way. Westerwelle and Human rights are a contradiction in terms.
07:34 November 14, 2012 by olog-hai
This is no honor, but an admission of depravity. The so-called "Human Rights Council" is a travesty, full of tyrants and terrorists, which is why the USA originally rejected having anything to do with it. Anyone who does want anything to do with it has the same mindset of tyrants.
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