Nigeria Excluded as Ghana, Malawi, and Other Countries Join UN Human Rights Council

After securing only three votes, Nigeria on Tuesday lost an opportunity to join the revered United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The election saw four African countries secure seats on the council. Ghana and Burundi were voted in as new members with 179 and 168 votes respectively, while Malawi (182 votes) and Côte d’Ivoire (181 votes) were reelected for a second term.

The Council is the UN’s premier rights body tasked with the responsibility of upholding and advancing fundamental freedoms globally. It was created in 2006 and consists of 47 member States, elected via secret ballot by the majority of General Assembly members.

It meets three times a year to review human rights records of UN Member States, in a special process designed to give countries the chance to present the actions they have taken, and what they’ve done, to advance human rights. This is known as the Universal Periodic Review.

Tuesday’s elections returned 15 member countries who will serve for three years, beginning 1 January 2024.

The 15 member countries include Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malawi, and the Netherlands.

They will join 32 others to run the council including Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Cameroon, Chile, Costa Rica, Eritrea, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Montenegro, Morocco, Paraguay, Qatar, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, and Viet Nam.

Russia also sought reelection after resigning last year in protestation of its suspension by the council. Peru also failed to secure a seat in the council.

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