ISHR has published ‘scorecards’ for States seeking election to the UN Human Rights Council for 2024-2026 to help inform voting States’ decisions in the upcoming election.
For many victims and activists, the Human Rights Council is a critical arena to confront abuses of power and push for change in their countries. Its success depends on members and their commitment to promote and protect human rights at home and abroad. Every year in October, the 193 Member States of the UN elect new members to the Human Rights Council. In 2023, 17 candidates are running for 15 seats.
Who is running for a seat this year?
This year the candidate States are:
- African States: Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Malawi and Ghana (4 candidates for 4 seats: closed slate)
- Asia and the Pacific States: Kuwait, China, Indonesia and Japan (4 candidates for 4 seats: closed slate)
- Latin America and Caribbean States: Brazil, Peru, Dominican Republic and Cuba (4 candidates for 3 seats)
- Western Europe and other States: The Netherlands and France (2 candidates for 2 seats: closed slate)
- Central and Eastern Europe States: Albania, Bulgaria and Russia (3 candidates for 2 seats)
None of these candidates has a perfect human rights record: they all need to do better.
However, and according to the HRC membership criteria, three candidates stand out as manifestly unsuitable for membership on the Human Rights Council: China, Russia and Burundi.
What do we want?
We want all candidates to make voluntary pledges in which they commit to improve their human rights issues at home and abroad and their collaboration with the Council. We also want UN member States to make informed votes and vote only for State candidates that uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and fully cooperate with the UN. Russia, China and Burundi are not fit to sit at the Human Rights Council, each being responsible for the commission of atrocity crimes, a pattern of reprisals against those who cooperate with the UN, and the repression of civil society. We call on all UN States at the General Assembly to not vote for Russia, Burundi or China.
How do we achieve this?
We increase the transparency of the election. ISHR has published scorecards that give a brief overview of the candidate’s record of cooperation and engagement with UN mechanisms. These scorecards help UN member States cast informed votes.
We create spaces where civil society and States can engage with candidates about their records and candidacies. On 6 September 2023 ISHR and Amnesty International are organising an online pledging event in which civil society can directly and constructively engage with candidate States by asking them questions. Candidates are also expected to elaborate on their human rights pledges and commitments made in the context of their candidacies.
We engage with States through meetings, letters and calls and ask them to base their vote on the HRC membership criteria and vote only for State candidates that uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and fully cooperate with the UN.
What can you do?
If you are a human rights defender:
1. Submit questions to be asked to candidate States ahead of the pledging event.
This is an opportunity to ask States about issues that you work on. Candidate States will be asked to respond publicly during the pledging event organised on 6 September by ISHR and Amnesty International.