Libya elected to U.N. Human Rights Council


(JTA) — The United Nations General Assembly voted to put Libya on the Human Rights Council.

Among the 14 countries elected Thursday with Libya for as many seats on the 47-member body were Uganda, Mauritania, Malaysia, Qatar, Spain and Switzerland. The new members will serve three-year terms.

Libya had the fewest number of votes with 155 among the 192 General Assembly members.

Iran had withdrawn its candidacy last month after the United States and other assembly members expressed the opinion that the Islamic Republic did not have a good enough human rights record to serve on the council.

B’nai B’rith International had urged the assembly to prevent Libya from sitting on the council in a letter earlier this week.

 "Only those with an exemplary human rights record at home should be considered fit to serve on the UNHRC," the letter said. "It is imperative that candidates for council seats hold values that demonstrate respect for universal human rights."

A coalition of 30 nongovernmental organizations, including many from Africa as well as Libyan victims’ groups, also appealed to the United States and European Union representatives at the United Nations to block Libya from winning a seat.

Libya has held several important seats in U.N. diplomatic bodies since making peace with Washington in 2003 and agreeing to halt its nuclear weapons program, including the African Union chairmanship, the U.N. Security Council and the presidency of the U.N. General Assembly.

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