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Congo Wins Seat At Human Rights Council, Despite Abuses

A delegate casts his country’s ballot during the General Assembly’s election of 15 members to the UN Human Rights Council in New York on October 16.

The UN General Assembly has elected the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Human Rights Council, despite protests that the country’s record of human rights abuses make it unfit for the job.

Congo was among the 15 countries that won seats on the intergovernmental body starting in January 2018. Others included Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called Congo’s election in the October 16 vote "yet another example of why the Human Rights Council lacks credibility and must be reformed in order to be saved."

Congo’s inclusion is "a slap in the face to the many victims of the Congolese government’s grave abuses across the country," Human Rights Watch said.

The advocacy group UN Watch singled out three of the winners -- Congo, Qatar, and Pakistan -- for criticism, saying that electing them "as a world judge on human rights is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief."

Qatar and Nigeria won second terms on the council. The other countries that won seats are Angola, Australia, Senegal, Slovakia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Nepal, and Spain.

The Human Rights Council is made up of 47 UN member states elected through secret ballots for three-year terms.

Based on reporting by dpa, AP, AFP, and Reuters