India elected to UN Human Rights Council with highest votes
May 18, 2007 - 6:12:31 PM

United Nations, May 18 - India has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council with the highest number of votes, with as many as 185 countries backing New Delhi.

Besides India, 13 other countries have been elected to serve on the council after two rounds of balloting here Thursday. India, Angola, Bolivia, Egypt, Indonesia, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Qatar, Slovenia and South Africa were successful after the first round of voting, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy made it in the second round.

India and some other chosen countries - South Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Netherlands - were actually being elected to their second term after winning a seat during the inaugural elections of the council last year, when the body was established to replace the discredited Commission on Human Rights.

The chosen countries - which were elected according to a formula that allots seats among regional groups - needed to obtain an absolute majority of the General Assembly's membership of 192 states. The second round of balloting was restricted to those states which had scored the most votes in the first round without achieving a majority.

While India -, Indonesia -, the Philippines - and Qatar - won the seats allotted to the Asian States group, Madagascar -, South Africa -, Angola - and Egypt - exceeded the majority in the African States group during the first round. In the Latin America and the Caribbean States group, where two seats were up for grabs, Nicaragua - and Bolivia - were elected.

Slovenia, which obtained 168 votes, was the only nation in the Eastern European States category to win a majority in the first round, but in the second round Bosnia and Herzegovina picked up 112 votes. Belarus did not score enough votes in either round.

Two seats were available to the Western European and Other States group, and the Netherlands won 121 votes in the opening round, while Denmark and Italy tied on 114 votes. In the second round, Italy scored 101 votes and Denmark obtained 86.

As part of the Council's formation, some members won three-year terms and others were given one-year terms and allowed to run for re-election again this year. Under Council rules, members serve three-year terms and cannot run for re-election after two consecutive terms.

Those elected today will serve three-year terms on the 47-member body.

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