Kathmandu, October 16
Nepal has been elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time since UNHRC’s creation in 2006.
In the election held in New York today, Nepal was elected to the council for the term 2018-2020, securing 166 votes, the highest in the Asia-Pacific Group. Together, Qatar, Pakistan, and Afghanistan were elected from the Asia-Pacific region, as part of a total of 15 states elected from different geographical regions.
The term of office of Nepal at the UNHRC begins on 1 January 2018, and ends on 31 December 2020.
The UNHRC membership gives Nepal an opportunity to share experiences of the unique and successful peace process with the world, and also learn from international peace practices, according to Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi. “It is definitely going to help enhance Nepal’s image in the international arena,” he said.
“This election offers post-conflict Nepal an unprecedented opportunity to prove its worth as an international contributor to the cause of human rights in Nepal and around the world, over and above its contribution as a UN peacekeeping and civilian protection partner since 1958,” said Ambassador Durga Prasad Bhattarai, the permanent representative of Nepal to the United Nations, in a statement.
National Human Rights Commission Spokesperson Mohana Ansari said along with benefits such as enhancing Nepal’s status in the international arena and higher budgets for programmes related to human rights and rule of law, the UNHRC membership also means added pressure on Nepal in terms of promotion and protection of human rights.
“Nepal has made certain commitments while applying for the UNHRC membership. So the country will be under added pressure to fulfil those commitments,” she said.
Nepal had been consistently lobbying for the UNHRC seat through its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had also sought member states’ support for Nepal’s candidature for membership of the UNHRC in his address to the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 23.
A version of this article appears in print on October 17, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.