On Tuesday Pakistan was re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2021.

The UN had 15 three-year term vacancies on the 47-strong council, with the seats grouped into five regions. The election in the 193-strong General Assembly was by secret ballot, with a simple majority of 97 votes required.

Pakistan bagged a record number of votes under the banner of the Asia Pacific Region.

Volkan Bozkir, the President of the UN General Assembly took to Twitter to congratulate the elected nations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Pakistan’s successful election.

“The international community has once again reposed confidence in Pakistan, recognizing our contribution to the national and global human rights agenda and strong credentials as a consensus builder in the HRC. Pakistan remains firmly committed to upholding, promoting and safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. Pakistan will sustain its efforts towards ensuring that the HRC’s work is guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, dialogue and cooperation. In line with Pakistan’s commitment, we will prioritize advancement of tolerance, respect and constructive engagement in the HRC.”

“The HRC has been a prominent forum for discussing the gross and systematic human rights abuses being perpetrated in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). The human rights violations committed with impunity by the Indian occupation forces in IIOJK have been extensively documented in the various reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the independent Special Procedure Mandate Holders. Pakistan will remain actively engaged with the Council as well as its related processes to continue to highlight the plight of Kashmiris and other oppressed people all over the world,” the statement added

Speaking to the press Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram said “Pakistan’s success in this important election is a reflection of the country’s high standing in the international community.”

“It was due to the personal outreach to world leaders by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the skillful guidance of the Foreign Ministry and the contribution of all Pakistan Missions abroad and my team here at the United Nations,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s office also touted Pakistan diplomatic success on the global stage.

This is the fifth time Pakistan has been elected to the Council; the first time being the inaugural meeting of the council in 2006 when it was formed by the UN General Assembly.

The contest was only in the Asian-Pacific group. Other groups put up agreed candidates: Five candidates contested for the four Asia-Pacific seats on the Council. Apart from Pakistan, China, Nepal and Uzbekistan were elected. Saudi Arabia, with 90 votes, could not make it. 

The Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

The Council’s membership is based on equitable geographical distribution and seats are distributed as follows: 13 seats for African States, 13 seats for Asia Pacific States, 8 seats for Latin American and Caribbean States, 7 seats for Western European and other States, and 6 seats for Eastern European States.

Anas Mallick is an international journalist who has been working as a field reporter for 7+ years now. With a focus on diplomacy, militancy, and conflict, Mallick's expertise involve Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. He tweets at @AnasMallick


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