India was elected to the United Nations' top human rights body on Friday for a period of three years beginning from January 1, 2019, after getting 188 votes in the Asia-Pacific category.
The 193-member UN General Assembly held elections here for new members to the UN Human Rights Council. The 18 new members were elected by absolute majority through a secret ballot. Countries needed a minimum of 97 votes to get elected to the Council.
India was vying for a seat in the Asia Pacific category. Along with India, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji and Philippines had also staked a claim in the same regional group. Given that there were five nations vying for five seats in the Asia Pacific category, India's election to the Council was all but certain.
Election of members of the Human Rights Council: India gets 188 votes, Fiji 187, Bangladesh 178, Bahrain 165, Philippines 165. (Asia Pacific group)
India's Ambassador and representative to UN, Syed Akbaruddin tweeted his happiness after the country was inducted into UNHRC. His Twitter post read, "Voting for a Happy Outcome. Thanks to the support of all our friends @UN , India wins seat to Human Rights Council with highest votes among all candidates."
On the same day as India was elected into the UNHRC, the country celebrated its 25th anniversary of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). PM Narendra Modi marked the occasion addressing a crowd gathering at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, wherein he said,
"For the last 25 years, the NHRC has been the voice for the common man of the country. It has led the way for the building of the nation by being the voice for the oppressed, poor. Your work towards justice has been recognized by international human rights institutions as well. As proud a matter as it is for India, protection of human rights has always been a part of our culture and traditions."
The Prime Minister further stated that human rights were at the very focus of the freedom movement in the country, adding that the commitment towards human rights pulled the country out of a great crisis during the 1970's.
"In that dark period of emergency, even the right to life was stripped; what can you say about rights? But Indians again achieved human rights through their own efforts," Prime Minister Modi said.
(With inputs from PTI & ANI)