Background

On May 21, 2008, the UN General Assembly will elect 15 new Human Rights Council members. Twenty countries are candidates. However, each is not competing against all of the others, but rather only against the ones from the same UN regional group.

In this year’s election, two regional groups have submitted the same amount of candidates as available seats. The African Group has 4 countries vying for 4 available seats, and the Latin American and Caribbean Group (“GRULAC”) has 3 countries vying for 3 available seats. This does not mean that the candidate countries for these groups will automatically be elected; in order to become a Council member a country must receive the votes of at least 97 of the 192 General Assembly member states (an absolute majority).

In the three other regional groups there is competition between the candidates. The Asian Group has 6 countries vying for 4 available seats; the Eastern European Group has 4 countries vying for 2 available seats; and the Western Europe and Others Group (“WEOG”) has 3 countries vying for 2 available seats.

Freedom House and UN Watch evaluated each candidate’s suitability for election to the Human Rights Council by examining its record of human rights protection at home and its record of human rights promotion at the UN.

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