The United Nations General Assembly in New York elected through direct and secret ballot 14 countries to the 47-member Human Rights Council on Wednesday. On the said assembly, Vietnam received 145 of 189 valid votes, granting the country a three-year term on the council beginning on January 1, 2023.
The 193-member assembly elected Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Romania, South Africa, Sudan, and Vietnam to serve at the Geneva based-council.
In a statement released by the State media, it said that the election result shows that Vietnam’s active participation in the UNHRC's activities and its strong commitment and efforts in promoting and protecting human rights have won the acknowledgment, trust, and appreciation of the international community.
It added: “The country will have a stronger voice in key issues of the UN as well as the international community, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, response to climate change, immigration, protection and promotion of the rights of women, children, people with disability, minorities, migrants, and especially humanitarian crises or armed conflicts in the world.”
This is Vietnam’s second time in the UNHRC Council. In 2013, the country made it the Council for the 2014-2016 tenure.
However, being on the council is not all glory and fame. Countries that made it to the Council must take this as an important opportunity to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights at all levels, including at the national level.
Madeleine Sinclair, co-director of the New York office and Legal Counsel of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), said that as Council members, “States have the duty to be exemplary in their efforts to uphold human rights. This includes paying close attention to calls from civil society and human rights defenders.”
She adds, With the Council increasingly at risk of being undermined by political and economic factors, we call on newly elected States to spare no efforts to ensure the body remains able and invested in upholding and protecting human rights of everyone everywhere.”
The General Assembly takes into account the candidate States' contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.
The Council's Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution. Seats are distributed as follows:
- African States: 13 seats
- Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats
- Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats
- Western European and other States: 7 seats
- Eastern European States: 6 seats
Originally seven, before the late withdrawal of Bahrain, following strong criticism. Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, and Vietnam managed to win over the Republic of Korea and Afghanistan.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was established in 1946 to weave the international legal fabric that protects our fundamental rights and freedoms.