Bahrain Fails to Win Presidency of UN Human Rights Council
2021-01-17 - 6:08 am
Bahrain Mirror: Bahrain failed to get the votes needed to win the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council.
Fiji won the presidency of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday (January 15, 2020), beating Bahrain and Uzbekistan in a secret ballot that resolved a tense deadlock over the selection.
The vote was called after an impasse that meant the Council, the only intergovernmental global body to promote and protect human rights worldwide, began meetings this week leaderless for the first time in its 15-year history.
The presidency rotates geographically with each region typically making a selection by consensus but members of the Asia Pacific group could not agree, forcing the first-ever secret ballot in the Council.
Fiji's Nazahat Shameen Khan, a British-educated former High Court judge, won with 29 votes versus 14 for Bahrain and 4 for Uzbekistan.
Observers and diplomats saw Fiji's rivals as being backed by Russia, China and Saudi Arabia although a Chinese diplomat said he would be happy for any of the three candidates to win.
The deadlock over the presidency came at the start of a year that is widely expected to see the United States rejoin after quitting the forum in 2018, and with a review of the Council's activities expected to begin.
The 47-member Council does not make legally binding decisions but it can authorize probes into alleged rights violations by mandating international fact-finding missions.
Marc Limon of the Universal Rights Group think-tank, welcomed Khan's selection. "It is important for the Council to have a country like Fiji that has a positive record on human rights and a good story to tell," he said, alluding to the collapse of the former U.N. rights body after Muammar Gaddafi's Libya led it.