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U.S. Wins Reelection To UN Human Rights Council

The UN General Assembly has  elected 18 countries for a three-year term to its 47-nation Human Rights Council. (file photo)
The UN General Assembly has elected 18 countries for a three-year term to its 47-nation Human Rights Council. (file photo)
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By RFE/RL
The United States has succeeded in its bid for re-election to the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council.

The General Assembly also elected 17 other countries for a three-year term in the Geneva-based rights watchdog.

The U.S. won the most votes of the regional group "Western Europe and Others." Germany and Ireland were also elected to the council on November 12 by the 193-member General Assembly.

Speaking to journalists after the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice suggested that the vote affirmed her country’s leadership at the United Nations.

"Today, the Obama administration's leadership of the Human Rights Council has delivered real results," she said. "Today's vote affirms that active U.S. leadership in the Human Rights Council and throughout the United Nations system will continue to pay real dividends for Americans and for the rest of the world."

According to Rice, Washington will seek to recalibrate the Human Rights Council’s focus.

"While we have much more work still to do, today's election gives the United States the opportunity to build on our accomplishments," she said. "[It gives us an opportunity] to speak out about persistent shortcomings, including the council's excessive and unbalanced focus on Israel, and to stand up for the human rights and values that are central to who we are as Americans and people of this world."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also pledged to work closely with the international community.

In a statement issued on November 12, Clinton said the United States will "continue to work closely with the international community to address urgent and serious human rights concerns worldwide and to strengthen the council."

Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela were elected to the council unopposed. Other countries that ran unopposed and were elected included Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, and Sierra Leone for Africa; Japan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates for the Asia-Pacific area; and Estonia and Montenegro for the Eastern Europe.

Ahead of the vote on November 11, international rights groups condemned the four regional groups' arrangements that gave seats on the council to countries whose human rights records have been widely questioned.

The winners will begin their terms on the 47-member council on January 1, replacing 18 outgoing countries.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa

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