• Wednesday, Mar 20, 2019
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DR Congo wins seat on UN rights council despite US opposition

  • Published at 08:25 pm October 17th, 2017
DR Congo wins seat on UN rights council despite US opposition

The Democratic Republic of Congo was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday despite opposition from the United States and a leading rights group.

DR Congo was among the 15 countries who won seats during a vote at the UN General Assembly. They will serve on the 47-member council from January 2018 through the end of 2020.

Kinshasa now finds itself in the rare position of sitting on the Geneva-based council while the body investigates allegations of killings, torture, rape and the use of child soldiers in the Kasai region of the DR Congo.

The United Nations is also taking part in a separate investigation into the murder of two UN experts who were killed in March while probing mass graves in the region.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley slammed the election of the DR Congo, saying it called into question the credibility of the Geneva-based council, which the United States has threatened to quit.

"The DR Congo, a country infamous for political suppression, violence against women and children, arbitrary arrest and detention, and unlawful killings and disappearances, has been elected to serve on what is supposed to be the world's preeminent human rights body," Haley said in a statement.

"Countries that aggressively violate human rights at home should not be in a position to guard the human rights of others," she said.

Human Rights Watch called the election of the DR Congo "a slap in the face to the many victims of the Congolese government's grave abuses across the country.

US warns council must reform

Haley said the election showed that the council "must be reformed in order to be saved" and warned that it "cannot endure many more blows to its credibility before it is rendered absolutely meaningless."

The US administration has threatened to quit the rights council, citing its anti-Israeli bias after it voted to compile a list of companies that have dealings with Israeli settlements.

The DR Congo won 151 votes in the 193-member assembly, garnering an easy majority despite the campaign against its election.

Senegal won 188 votes, followed by Angola with 187 and Nigeria 185.

The 11 other countries elected on Monday were: Australia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Qatar, Pakistan, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, Chile, Mexico and Peru.