Finland and Malaysia elected as members of the UN Human Rights Council

Malaysia and Finland have been elected to take a seat in the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2022 -2024 term.

The 76th UN General Assembly held elections on 14 October for 18 new members of the U.N. Human Rights Council who will serve for three years, starting in January 2022.

Besides Malaysia and Finland, the 193-member General Assembly also elected by secret ballot Argentina, Benin, Cameroon, Eritrea, Gambia, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Paraguay, Qatar, Somalia, UAE, and the USA for the 2022-2024 term on the Council.

Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes that Finland received 180 votes and that the Nordic country was elected a member of the Council in the group of Western and other countries. Finland has previously been a member of the Council for one year from 2006 to 2007 when the Human Rights Council was established.

About the election, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto says, “Finland is ready to take responsibility and co-operate with various actors to ensure that human rights are not just a buzzword. A functioning multilateral rule-based system and the realization of human rights are the keys to the well-being and security of Finnish society as well as to the promotion of global peace and security and sustainable development.”

“Finland, and also myself, have excellent experiences in involving civil society in matters. We will work closely with both domestic and international NGOs and human rights defenders. It is important that, in addition to the voice of states, the views and expertise of civil society, researchers, and the private sector are also heard in the work of the Human Rights Council, ”continues Minister Haavisto.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob shared in a Facebook posting that Malaysia received 183 votes.  

“Malaysia’s success in occupying the UN Human Rights Council chair is a great achievement and recognition of human rights status,” the Prime Minister stated. 

“We are ready to play an active role – to be the facilitator for conciliation, the enabler for cooperation, and builder of consensus. Malaysia will work closely with the UN Member States to advance the global human rights agenda, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As our nations lay the groundwork for a sustained and inclusive recovery post-covid-19, human rights must be kept at the center of all our efforts. In unity, for humanity,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said. 

The Geneva-based 47-nation Human Rights Council is the UN’s main human rights body. Its mission is to promote and protect human rights worldwide, including by addressing serious human rights violations. The Council has taken a position and appointed independent experts to monitor the situation in several countries, such as Syria, Myanmar, and, more recently, Afghanistan.

In addition, the HRC adopts initiatives and makes recommendations on human rights issues. These include the rights of women, children, and various minorities, human rights issues related to climate change and digitalization, and the rights and security of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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