Venezuela wins seat on United Nations Human Rights Council

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza celebrates his country securing a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council

Armenia, Poland, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, South Korea and Japan beat competition in their regional blocs to win seats - Japan for a second term. Germany, with 174 votes; and the Netherlands, with 172 votes, held the two seats in the Western European and Others Group. Its seats are reserved for different regions around the world, and countries from those regions must compete to occupy them every three years.

On Thursday, US Ambassador Craft said the Venezuela's ascent to the council "provides ironclad proof that the Human Rights Council is broken and reinforces why the United States withdrew".

The Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro has been widely criticised for human rights abuses and accused of retaining power after a disputed election previous year.

"As a member of the Human Rights Council, we plan to take the initiative in worldwide discussions on human rights and actively participate in global efforts to respond to human rights crises around the world", South Korea's mission to the United Nations said. Human Rights Council members are elected by region, and a limited number of seats are available. Members work to uphold and promote human rights around the world.

"In Venezuela, a dictator starves his people, and in Libya there are camps that torture African migrants", Danon said.

Philippe Bolopion, a deputy director Human Rights Watch (HRW), said Venezuela's nomination to the council was "undeserved" and called it a "slap in the face to the country's countless victims who've been tortured and murdered by government forces", adding that millions of Venezuelans fled the country because of a "humanitarian emergency".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called on the United Nations in April to revoke the U.N. credentials of Maduro's government, but Washington has taken no further action to push the measure and diplomats said it is unlikely to get the support needed in the General Assembly.

More news: England beat Australia to reach Rugby World Cup semi-finals

Venezuela's election to a body supposed to promote and protect human rights worldwide also gives USA critics of the United Nations yet another reason to accuse the world body of bias and dysfunction.

Late last month the council created a group of experts to investigate human rights violations in Venezuela since 2014.

Nicolás Maduro's government hailed it as an "important achievement".

A UN General Assembly meeting in Geneva saw the Latin American country elected to one of 14 new seats on the 47-member body.

Before the vote, Human Rights Watch also criticized Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro for embracing "rhetoric hostile to human rights norms" and for giving "a green light to criminal networks destroying the Amazon rainforest".

"Instead of protecting human rights, it has long protected the tyrants, dictators and strongmen who abuse them".

And it urged Sudan's new transitional government to "set an example on human rights promotion by taking concrete steps toward accountability and reforms".

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