UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – Libya was elected Thursday (13/5/2010) to the United Nations Human Rights Council, over the objections of numerous NGOs that said the country was unfit to serve on the body.
But the appeal fell on deaf ears, and a General Assembly secret ballot produced 155 votes in favor of adding Libya to the council, significantly more than the 97 votes needed.
UN ambassador Susan Rice opted not to wade directly into the dispute, and suggested in remarks issued after the vote that such rifts are part and parcel of international diplomacy.
Libya and 13 other nations ran unopposed for 14 of the council’s seats in a ballot process in which regional groups for the first time each put forward the same number of candidates as the number of seats available to them, ensuring they would be elected without competition.
NGOs criticized the process as undemocratic. The seats are apportioned by region, with each bloc able to put forward candidates for the places available to it.
The four seats available to African this vote went to Libya, Angola, Mauritania and Uganda.
In the Asian group, Iran’s withdrawal from contention — which was welcomed by human rights groups — left Malaysia, the Maldives, Qatar and Thailand contenders for the four available spots.
Ecuador and Guatemala took two seats available to Latin America, while Spain and Switzerland took Western Europe’s spots and Moldova and Poland earned the places set aside for Eastern Europe.
The results were announced by the current president of the General Assembly, Libyan national Ali Triki.