UNGA elects Iceland to replace US on Human Rights Council


UNITED NATIONS, July 14 (APP):Iceland has for the first time been elected to the Human Rights Council, filling the seat vacated by the United States, which withdrew from the Geneva-based body last month, citing bias against Israel.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday voted to elect Iceland to serve on the 47-member global rights body effective immediately, through to the end of next year.
Iceland inherits no particular responsibilities from the US, raising questions about future action on key human rights issues promoted specifically by Washington, such as Sudan, South Sudan and the right to freedom of expression.
On 19 June, the US announced its decision to leave the Council. Senior US officials accused the Council of displaying entrenched bias against Israel, and criticized what they said was the body’s willingness to admit nations which were themselves human rights abusers.
In a statement issued by UN Spokesman Stphane Dujarric, Secretary-General Antnio Guterres said that he would have much preferred the US remain and that the intergovernmental body was a part of the UN’s overallHuman Rights architecture, which plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.
The Human Rights Council’s next scheduled meeting is in September.