United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva
General view at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Pakistan has been re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) with an overwhelming majority, securing 169 votes in the 193-member UN General Assembly. Pakistan secured the highest number of votes among the five candidates from the Asia-Pacific region.

“The international community has once again reposed confidence in Pakistan, recognising our contribution to the national and global human rights agenda and strong credentials as a consensus builder in the HRC,” said a statement by Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.

Pakistan elected for another 3-year term

Pakistan has served on the UNHRC since January 2018 and will now continue as a member for another three-year term beginning on January 1, 2021. “Since HRC’s establishment in 2006, this is the fifth time Pakistan has been elected to the premier UN body on human rights,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a tweet. The HRC is an inter-governmental body based in Geneva responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.

Pakistan’s success reflects confidence of global community

Pakistan Prime Minister Office (PMO) termed the re-election to the seat “a major diplomatic success”. PM Imran Khan said that “Pakistan’s resounding success in this election to an important UN body showcases Pakistan as a principled, reliable and responsible player at the international stage, with the capacity to contribute meaningfully to the work of the UN, especially on issues related to human rights.” The statement further added that “Pakistan’s candidature was supported by an overwhelming majority of countries”, echoing confidence of the international community in Pakistan’s credentials.

Munir Akram, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in a video message, said that “Pakistan’s success is a reflection of the country’s high standing in the international community,” and an indication of the “friendship and support we enjoy from various parts of the world”.

Committed to uphold and safeguard human rights

Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) said that the country remains “firmly committed to upholding, promoting and safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms for all”. With the re-election, “Pakistan will sustain its efforts towards ensuring that the HRC’s work is guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, dialogue and cooperation”. The country will “prioritise advancement of tolerance, respect and constructive engagement in the HRC” that are in line with Pakistan’s commitment. The FO statement added that Pakistan would remain actively engaged with the Council and its related processes to “continue to highlight the plight of Kashmiris and other oppressed people all over the world.”