Australia to use United Nations seat to push women's rights

Annette Crawford
October 17, 2017

Fifteen countries won seats on UN Human Rights Council on Monday, including Pakistan, Qatar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, drawing sharp rebuke from rights groups and the U.S.

"Discovery of mass graves, which are probably, largely due to government security forces; thousands of people killed over the a year ago just in the Kasai region alone, that's not to mention the abuses the linked to the delayed election and the crackdown on protesters".

Ahead of its election to the United Nations body, Australia was criticised in a report over its human rights record in dealing with refugees and Aboriginal peoples.

The council is already under fire by the Trump Administration for having the likes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China as members, and today's elections have only intensified criticism of the Geneva-based council.

The United States is reviewing its membership in the council.

They will serve a three-year term as from January 1, 2018.

Other countries elected by the UN General Assembly include Australia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Qatar, Congo, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, Chile, Mexico and Peru. "What happened in DRC a year ago makes their election to the Human Rights council entirely disappointing", British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft posted on Twitter.

"Countries that aggressively violate human rights at home should not be in a position to guard the human rights of others", Ms Haley said in a statement.

To ensure geographical representation, states are nominated in five regional categories.

However, human rights activists both within and outside the country decried the election of the DRC to the United Nations body.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed Monday's elections, saying the council "cannot endure many more blows to its credibility before it is rendered absolutely meaningless".

The president of the African Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASADHO), Jean-Claude Katende, expressed outrage over the DRC's election, vowing to continue "to document cases of human rights violations in Congolese territory to prove to the African countries which supported the election of the DR Congo that they made a mistake".

The violence in eastern and central Congo has displaced over 1.5 million in the past year and revived fears of civil war in a country where conflicts from 1996-2003 resulted in millions of deaths and spawned dozens of armed groups that prey on local populations and exploit natural resources.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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