Costa Rica Elected To U.N. Human Rights Council
Costa Rica's foreign minister, Rene Castro, called it a dimlomatic victory yesterday the election of Costa Rica to join the 47 member United Nations Human Rights Council, beating out Nicaragua.
Costa Rica had the support of 138 of 191 countries, so along with Chile and Peru was elected by the Latin American and Caribbean group for the period 2011 to 2014.
Costa Rica’s U.N. Ambassador Eduardo Ulibarri noted that human rights are a major component of his government’s foreign and domestic policy. He said Costa Rica would bring to the council its objectiveness and make a conscious effort to not allow the council to become politicized - a charge often leveled by its critics.
“We are also determined to be active in going against any gross aggression against human rights throughout the world, regardless of the kind of political regime that commits those aggressions," said Ulibarri.
"And at the same time, we think that it is very important to have a constructive approach in the council in the sense of trying to promote, for example, human rights education and training throughout the world, and also helping those countries who want to improve their standards and their record in human rights to build their own capacities in order to move forward in that direction.”
Other countries joining the Geneva-based council are the Congo, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Benin, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Italy and Austria, with the Czech Republic and Romania prevailing over Georgia to win the Eastern Europe Group’s two available seats.
Each of the newly elected countries will serve a three-year term.
The Geneva-based Human Rights Council was created five years ago, and is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world. The body addresses human rights violations and makes recommendations on them. But many critics say it is made up of countries with their own poor human rights records and an agenda that includes bashing Israel.
Candidates are chosen to run by their regional groups.
The Asian Group has four seats on the council, one allotted for an Arab country. Syria was originally slated to stand for that seat but dropped its bid earlier this month under growing international pressure because of its violent actions against peaceful protesters seeking democratic reform.