UK to stand for re-election to Human Rights Council

UK humam rights council, Lord Ahmad
Geneva, Switzerland - Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room in UN Geneva © Vogelsp

The UK government asserts that the Human Rights Council is the best tool the international community has to promote human rights in an imperfect world, and the UK will stand for a second term

The Human Rights Council (HRC) is made of 47 UN Member States, elected by the majority via the General Assembly of the United Nations in both direct and secret ballots. The General Assembly is meant to then evaluate the hopeful State’s contributions to protecting rights, and any voluntary commitments in the realm of international human rights.

Members serve for 3 years, and cannot run for re-election after two consecutive terms of being on the HRC.

The dramatic exit of the US from being an elected Member in June 2018 was explained by the State as being due to ‘biased’ and ‘unfair’ treatment of Isreal by the HRC. In their empty seat, Iceland was elected for an emergency single year until 2019.

Minister of State for the UN, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, has confirmed the UK will be standing for re-election to the UN’s Human Rights Council in 2020. The re-election reaffirms UK support for the Council as the best tool the international community has to promote human rights and address impunity in an imperfect world. Successful re-election in 2020 would maintain the UK’s record as one of the longest-serving members of the Council.

Speaking in the chamber of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Lord Ahmad also highlighted the alarming downward trend in global media freedom. Last year 80 journalists were killed and almost 400 were detained. The Minister urged Council members to support the UK’s media freedom campaign, and the London conference on 10 and 11 July, which aims to shine a global spotlight on media repression and deliver international action on promoting media freedom and strengthening the protection of journalists.

Human Rights Minister, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, said:

“Freedom is at the heart of the rules-based system, but the rising tide of impunity across the globe should remind us of its fragility.

“Today I am proud to reiterate the UK’s commitment to the Human Rights Council because a strong multilateral system is key to dealing with the great global challenges of our time.

“The UK will continue to defend and promote human rights internationally, and in July, the Foreign Secretary and the Canadian Foreign Minister will convene leaders from across the globe to highlight the issue of media repression, because a free press is the lifeblood of democracy.”

Lord Ahmad also expressed his grave concerns about freedom of religion or belief across the world. This included the situation of Uyghur Muslims in Xingang province, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, and Christians from across parts of the Middle East and Asia.

The Minister for Human Rights also called for an end to violence amid the deteriorating situation in the Anglophone South West and North West regions of Cameroon. He urged all sides to come together to initiate a credible, inclusive dialogue to address the root causes of the crisis.

Watch Lord Ahmad deliver a statement on Media Freedom to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.


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