On 12 November 2013, China was elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Council (HRC) was created in 2006 and replaced the former UN Commission on Human Rights; it is the UN’s top human rights body and is made up of 47 Member States, elected by the UN General Assembly. The HRC has the mandate to strengthen the promotion and the protection of human rights worldwide as well as to address situations of human rights violations. One of its most important mechanisms is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which assesses the compliance to human rights norms and standards by all UN Member States.
For the past months, there has been a great concern in the international community regarding China’s candidature to become part of the HRC. The UN Resolution 60/251 which created the HRC establishes in its article 8 that “when electing members of the Council, Member States shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and the protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto”. China has succeeded to win a seat at the Council, despite its poor human rights record and the calls from many civil society organisations to exclude China from becoming a member. [Read more...]