Published: Tue, October 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Australia elected to the Human Rights Council

Australia says it will use its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council to push for the empowerment of women, indigenous rights and abolition of the death penalty.

"Political repression, civilian attacks, mass graves".

Ending a two-year campaign to join the United Nations body, Australia will now serve a three-year term on the body responsible for protecting human rights around the world, starting on January 1, 2018.

"Australia's human rights record is on shaky ground when it comes to their ongoing treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum", Refugee Council of Australia chief executive Paul Power said.

Australia will take its seat on 1 January 2018 and is ready to work closely with other countries and civil society to protect and advance human rights around the world.

The council is already under fire by the Trump Administration for having the likes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China as members, and today's elections have only intensified criticism of the Geneva-based council.

"We need to be able to block countries that are serial rights abusers", Charbonneau said, "and you can't do it when they're handed on a silver platter a seat on the U.N.'s premiere human rights body".

Haley said the election showed that the council "must be reformed in order to be saved" and warned that it "cannot endure many more blows to its credibility before it is rendered absolutely meaningless".

Angola, Senegal, Slovakia, Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan and Spain were also elected to the body on Tuesday, while Nigeria and Qatar won second terms.

"Countries that aggressively violate human rights at home should not be in a position to guard the human rights of others", Ms Haley said in a statement.

Nigeria has illustriously served the global community on the UNHRC for three terms since the establishment of the Council in 2006. A majority of 97 votes is needed for election. "We are committed to respecting human rights, fighting impunity and continuing collaboration with the various United Nations bodies" she vowed.

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