(MENAFN – Colombo Gazette) g loading = “lazy” class = “wp-image-101661 alignleft” src = “https://colombogazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/UNHRC.jpg” alt = “” width = “260” height = “173” “https://colombogazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/UNHRC.jpg 1024w, https://colombogazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/UNHRC-960×640 .jpg 960w “size =” (max-width: 260px) 100vw, 260px “/> By SV KIRUPAharan, France
At the UN General Assembly in New York, on October 13, elections were held for fifteen vacancies for members of the UN Human Rights Council – HRC for the period 2021 to 2023. Several countries with a record of gross human rights violations succeeded in this election.
Before discussing in detail about the newly elected members and the HRC, it is necessary to know how the HRC’s membership in forty-seven countries is divided. This is by world region – thirteen countries from Asia-Pacific (13), thirteen countries from Africa (13), eight countries from Latin or Caribbean South America (8), seven countries from Western Europe and others (7) and six countries from Eastern Europe (6).
One needs to know which countries are currently HRC members until December 2020 or above. They:
Asia Pacific Countries (13): Afghanistan (2020) Qatar (2020) Nepal (2020) Pakistan (2020) Fiji (2021) Bangladesh (2021) Fiji (2021) India (2021) Philippines (2021) Indonesia (2022) Japan (2022) Marshall Islands (2022) Republic Korea – South Korea (2022).
Africa (13): Angola (2020) Democratic Republic of the Congo (2020) Nigeria (2020) Senegal (2020) Burkina Faso (2021) Cameroon (2021) Eritrea (2021) Somalia (2021) Togo (2021) Libya (2022) Mauritania (2022) Namibia (2022 ) Sudan (2022).
South or Latin American (8) Caribbean countries: Chile (2020) Name (2020) Mexico (2020) Argentina (2021) Palmas (2021) Uruguay (2021) Brazil (2022) Venezuela (2022).
Other Western European Countries (7): Australia (2020) Spain (2020) Austria (2021 Denmark (2021) Italy (2021) Germany (2022) Netherlands (2022)
Eastern European Countries (6): Slovakia (2020) Ukraine (2020) Bulgaria (2021) Czech Republic (2021) Armenia (2022) Poland (2022).
Fifteen new members
Based on the period given above, the membership of four countries in Asia, four countries in Africa, three countries in Latin or Caribbean South America, two countries in other West European countries, and two countries in Eastern Europe will end in December 2020.
If a sitting country wishes to continue its membership in the UN Human Rights Council, it can only do so for two consecutive three-year terms during each term. To do this, at the end of their first three years, they must run in elections held by the UN General Assembly.
Now let’s look at the fifteen members, elected last week by the UN General Assembly, who will hold their membership for three years starting 2021.
Among the Asia Pacific countries: Pakistan, Nepal, China and Uzbekistan. But Pakistan and Nepal have been re-elected for their second terms.
Among African countries: Senegal, Ivory Coast or Ivory Coast, Gabon and Malawi. But Senegal has been re-elected for his second term.
Among Latin or South American Caribbean countries: Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba and Mexico. But Mexico has been re-elected for a second term.
Among Western Europe and other countries: France and England were elected without a vote.
Regarding Eastern Europe: Ukraine and Russia. But Ukraine has been re-elected for a second term.
Many international human rights organizations condemned the fact that of the fifteen countries elected this time, many had records of major human rights violations. But this is not the first time these countries have been elected to the HRC. This is proof that the UN General Assembly is being politicized.
The two year period ends
Furthermore, we need to consider that the two-year deadline given by the HRC to the Government of Sri Lanka expires in March 2021 – in other words to coincide with HRC’s 46th session in March. The question that now arises for many is how will the HRC member countries handle the situation in Sri Lanka?
The main thing we need to note is that Sri Lanka has drawn co-sponsorship of this resolution and since the last Presidential and Parliament elections, the government has manipulated its means to bury Sri Lanka’s democracy. In addition, Sri Lanka is openly cooperating with the countries with the world’s worst human rights violations – such as China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan and others.
Now, we need to examine how the international community views Sri Lanka’s autocracy and constitutional dictatorship. The international community considers Gotabhaya’s one-year rule to mean a gradual demise of democracy and impending dangers in Sri Lanka. In addition, the international community has not failed to pay attention to the deterioration in the political, economic and social life of the people of the Northeast.
In this context, at the next HRC session, it cannot be denied that a tough resolution against Sri Lanka will be put forward. What matters may be how the HRC members support this resolution. There are people who don’t understand the HRC situation and panic. Some people worry that China, Russia, Cuba and Pakistan will become members of HRC from 2021 and they may sabotage the resolution. Of course, they will try their best but will not succeed. One should understand that all past resolutions have been successfully elected while China, Russia, Cuba and Pakistan are HRC members.
Some say that the previous resolution was passed successfully, because it was initiated by the US which is now not in the HRC. There are people who have difficulty understanding the internal affairs, lobbying and voting patterns of HRC.
US is concerned
The US may not be in HRC but they are concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka, especially about human rights issues. When Sri Lanka was given a two-year extension, the US played their card behind the scenes although this was unknown to many.
The US tendency to withdraw from HRC has always been during the Republican Presidency. During the Democratic Presidency, they publicly joined HRC and initiated issues. Taking this factor into account, in the upcoming Presidential election in the US, if the Democrats win they will definitely move their activities to HRC.
The resolution on Sri Lanka, which will be submitted to HRC at the next session is sure to be won by a vote of at least twenty-five to twenty-seven countries (25-27). Those wishing to analyze this prediction should consider votes on previous resolutions, HRC membership in 2021 and several other factors to consider. Also, one has to consider the current political situation in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, there are people spreading poison which doesn’t help, even if the HRC chooses to hand over the Sri Lanka situation to the UN Security Council, China is there to protect them. I respectfully ask those people to see what China did when former Sudanese President Omar el-Bechir was referred to the International Criminal Court – ICC by the Security Council. It should be noted that the former President of Sudan was very friendly with China and they traded a lot.
So, future resolutions on Sri Lanka at HRC Geneva will be passed without a hitch.
However, for any future Sri Lankan resolution to be successful in HRC – contributions from the Tamil Diaspora, activists, all diaspora organizations, Tamil parliamentarians from the North and East, human rights activists and Sri Lankan parents and relatives are essential. All of this must find a way to work with the International Human Rights Organization and others.
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