Croatia has been elected a member of the UN Human Rights Council for the first time in its history, announced on Friday the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, reports 24sata.hr on October 29, 2016.
Croatia was elected to the Council for the three-year period from 2017 to 2019. The UN Human Rights Council is an important intergovernmental body established by resolution of the UN General Assembly in 2006, with a mandate to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights at a global level, as well as to consider human rights situation in all countries of the world.
All 193 UN member states voted on 14 places in the committee which has the total of 47 members. The UN General Assembly elected Croatia and Hungary as representatives of Eastern Europe instead of Russia, which is a big blow to Moscow since Russia has not been a member of the Council for just one year since 2006. More than 80 humanitarian and human rights associations had called on UN member states to vote against Russia due to its military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the war in Syria. Russia, Croatia and Hungary, three countries which competed for two regional seats, received 112, 114 and 144 votes respectively.
Saudi Arabia has been re-elected to the Council with 152 votes, just like China, Cuba and Egypt, countries which have been accused of human rights violations. In addition to Croatia, Rwanda and Iraq are two other states which have been elected for the first time. Other elected members are Brazil, Great Britain, Japan, South Africa, Tunisia and the United States.
Croatia will use its membership to get more involved in global action in the field of human rights protection, with regards to the current trends and the development of new standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as with regards to raising awareness about the need to strengthen their protection in countries where human rights violations and the climate of impunity represent a threat to citizens, according to the Ministry.
Croatia’s priorities will be focused on the fight against all forms of discrimination and hate crimes, as well as on effective protection of all victims in conflicts, protecting the dignity and right to life of every human person, the statement said, adding that membership in the Council is at the same time an opportunity for Croatia to demonstrate its good practices in the field of promotion and protection of human rights.