Georgia elected UN Human Rights Council member for first time

  • The Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ primary body for human rights issues around the world. Photo from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia., 29 Oct 2015 - 15:15, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia has achieved a historic milestone and been granted a two-year membership to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), making it one of 47 member states responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world.

Georgia was elected to the two-year membership, which will begin in 2016, at a United Nations General Assembly session on Wednesday.

This will be the first time Georgia will be represented in the Geneva-based Council. 

Wednesday’s session was convened to vote on membership for 18 available seats. Georgia was elected after it gained 177 votes for one of the two vacant seats for Eastern Europe. The other vacant seat went to Slovenia.

UNHRC membership will allow Georgia to more actively participate in reacting to human rights violations around the world as well as take part in various processes at the UN to develop mechanisms of solving these issues.

Burundi, Togo, Mongolia and Panama also gained their first seats in the UNHRC after this week’s election.

The UNHRC was established in 2006 as the United Nations’ arm for human rights issues. It involved 47 elected member states who were responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world. 

The seats on the Council were allocated to regional groups - African States, Latin American and Caribbean States, Asia-Pacific States, Eastern European States, and Western European and other states.

The 18 vacant seats became available to new member states after the states previously occupying the seats vacated them ahead of the new election, per UNHRC rules. The outgoing members were able to stand for re-election with the exception of the United States delegation that had served for two consecutive terms.

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the election results and said membership to the UNHRC underlined the efforts of the country’s Government to develop a national and international policy of human rights protection.