Albania, Bolivia, India, Latvia, Qatar and ten more countries have been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for a period of 2015-2018. The secret ballot voting was held at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
In all, 17 countries vied for 15 seats in the United Nations Human Rights Council. Along with those listed above, they were Bangladesh, Botswana, Ghana, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Nigeria, the Netherlands, the Republic of Congo, Salvador, Paraguay, Portugal, and Thailand. All of them scored more than 97 out of 193 votes needed to be elected to the Council, but Costa Rica and Thailand won less votes than others - 120 and 136 votes, respectively. Ghana, Nigeria and the Republic of Congo enlisted the biggest support - 187, 187, and 185 votes, respectively.
Botswana, India, Indonesia and the Republic of Congo, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council since 2011, were re-elected for a second term. The rest will succeed Austria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Italy, Kuwait, Peru, Romania, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, Chile, and Costa Rica.
The Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council includes 47 states. It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations 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. Established in 2006, the Council is the successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights, and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly. Members are elected by the majority of vote in secret ballot. The seats are distributed among the UN's regional groups. African and Asia Pacific countries have the biggest representation in the Council - 13 seats for African and 13 for Asia. Latin American and Caribbean states delegate eight countries to the Council,
Western European countries - seven, and Eastern European - six.
Members are elected for a term of three years and may be reelected for two consecutive terms. Russia is a member till the end of 2016.