135 member countries of the United Nations voted on Wednesday, May 21, to elect Slovakia on to the UN Human Rights Council. UN member countries voted in a secret ballot at the 63rd UN General Assembly in New York, Slovak Foreign Ministry spokesman Ján Škoda said. Slovakia will represent Central and Eastern European countries on the council. The two vacancies in the group were also sought by Serbia and Ukraine; Ukraine was also elected. It is Slovakia's first time as a member of this UN body, which is tasked with addressing human rights violations around the world. Members serve three-year terms and cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. Slovakia's term begins in June.
As a member of the council, Slovakia intends to play a positive and constructive role in the development and protection of human rights worldwide, said Škoda. It will support the council’s prompt reaction to cases of flagrant and systematic violations of human rights in any part of the world. Slovakia also wants to emphasise the importance and equal status of all categories of human rights. The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, has 47 members. Its voting system ensures proportional representation of all the world’s regions. Currently, seven EU members serve on the Council. Under council regulations, candidates are evaluated based on the political rights, civil liberties and freedom of the press in their countries, as well as their approach to human rights promotion at the United Nations. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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22. May 2008 at 17:00