Ghana Elected Member Of The UN Human Rights Council
Ghana was today (October 20, 2014) elected a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world.
Ghana bagged 187 out of the 191 valid votes cast, alongside Nigeria, which also secured 187 votes, Congo, 185 votes and Botswana, 183 votes to represent the African States at the election conducted during the General Assembly meeting. The three year term of office begins from January 1 next year.
The UN General Assembly takes into account the candidate States' contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.
Made up of 47 member states, the United Nations Human Rights Council is a United Nations System inter-governmental body, as well as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly.
The UNHRC also addresses important thematic human rights issues such as freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and religion, women's rights, Lesbians Gays Bisexual Transgender rights(LGBT) and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.
The General Assembly established the UNHRC by adopting a resolution (A/RES/60/251) on March 15, 2006, in order to replace the previous CHR, which had been heavily criticised for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.
The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and engages the United Nations' special procedures. The seats are distributed among the UN's regional groups - African States, Asian States, Eastern European States, Latin American & Caribbean States, Western European and Other States. The Commission provides written and oral statements to the Human Rights Council, which meets for a month in Geneva, three times in a year.
The UNHRC can decide at any time to hold a special session to address human rights violations and emergencies, at the request of one-third of the member states.
The General Assembly, via a two-thirds majority, can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership. The resolution establishing the UNHRC states that "members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”.