Nepal has been elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for the term 2018-2020, today. Nepal will be serving in that capacity for the first time since HRC’s creation in 2006. Nepal secured 166 votes, the highest in the Asia-Pacific Group.
Together, Qatar, Pakistan, and Afghanistan were elected from the Asia-Pacific region, as part of a total of 15 States elected from different geographical regions, by a secret ballot at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly (GA) in New York this morning.
Soon after the election was over, Ambassador Durga Prasad Bhattarai, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations, said that this election marks a humbling moment of paramount importance to Nepal since it reflects the international community’s acknowledgment of Nepal’s passionate efforts and accomplishments in the field of promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms at home and globally.
Ambassador Bhattarai further said that this election also recognizes the ability of Nepal to contribute to the work of HRC from the experience of uniquely successful home-grown and nationally-driven peace process that led to the adoption of a human rights-based constitution in 2015, and of the country’s resolve to implement the Constitution.
‘This election offers the post-conflict Nepal an unprecedented opportunity to prove its worth as an international contributor in the cause of human rights in Nepal and around the world, over and above its contribution as a UN peacekeeping and civilian protection partner since 1958,’ the Permanent Representative added.
The term of office of Nepal at the Council begins on 01 January 2018 and ends on 31 December 2020.
In the run up to the election, Nepal had submitted its voluntary pledges and commitments, which have since been published as UN document A/72/347. Separately, Nepal also actively participated at the HRC candidates’ pledging event in New York organized by the Amnesty International and International Services for Human Rights on 11 September 2017.
The HRC was established in 2006 by UN-GA as its own subsidiary body, replacing the then Commission on Human Rights. The HRC comprises 47 members representing different geographic regions, including 13 from the Asia-Pacific states.
The HRC is responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all; considering human rights violations and making recommendations thereof; and promoting coordination of human rights within the UN system. To carry out its mandate, the HRC works through, among others, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Advisory Committee, Complaints Procedure Mechanism, and Special Procedures. It meets in Geneva for at least 10 weeks a year in three regular sessions in March, June and September, respectively.
In the past, Nepal had served as a member of the erstwhile Commission on Human Rights during 1995-2000 and 2004-2006, including as its Vice-chair in 1999 and Chair in 2000.