India wins seat in UN Human Rights Commission

"UN member countries should show their outrage at the Philippines and Eritrea by leaving two spots on the ballot sheet blank and keeping them off the council", said Louis Charbonneau, U.N. director at Human Rights Watch. The group cited the administration's drug war, citing more than 12,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed in anti-drug operations - a huge jump from the government data showing 4,000 have been neutralized - as well as the attacks on human rights defenders.

Needing 97 votes to become a member of the top rights body of the UN, Bangladesh secured 178 votes. For the first time in the council's history, the five voting regions had only put forward as many candidates as there were seats available, thus removing any competition.

"They have always raised human rights violations against this administration, but as repeatedly said by the president, he will not allow human rights violations in this country", Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

India's election into UNHRC is important considering previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein who asked the body to facilitate an global commission of inquiry into allegations of human rights violation in Kashmir.

"If you want to talk human rights, we're here".

The council's controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule, is exclusively devoted to discussing alleged Israeli rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel is the only country with a dedicated council item. The council was established in 2006.

It is one of 18 countries elected to the council, which is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights, for a three-year term from 2019 to 2021. Current members include several countries with questionable human rights records, including, Iraq, Cuba, China, Qatar, Angola, Burundi, Pakistan, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler speaking to a Knesset committee in Jerusalem on March 2012.

"Instead, the Philippines has carried out vicious campaigns against United Nations officials, including against the special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings and the high commissioner for human rights", the group said.

Matthew Lee, a United Nations journalist who runs the Inner City Press blog and has focused on alleged human rights abuses in Cameroon, told Fox News that Cameroon's elevation to the Council was "an outrage".

But its defenders say it does vital protection work around the world.

Ahead of the vote, Human Rights Watch said the election risks undermining the council's effectiveness and credibility. As there were only 18 contenders, India's membership was certain. "Non-democracies could no longer hold up their UNHRC election as a shield of worldwide legitimacy to cover up the abuses of their regime".

Vanessa Coleman