How do candidates for the Human Rights Council elections 2025-2027 rate?

ISHR has published ‘scorecards’ for States seeking election to the UN Human Rights Council for 2025-2027 to help inform voting States’ decisions in the upcoming election.

To coincide with the Human Rights Council Pledging Event hosted by ISHR and Amnesty International, ISHR just published a 'scorecard' for each State seeking election to the Human Rights Council and regional cards comparing candidates States of every region. 

The scorecards offer a quick ‘at-a-glance' objective comparison of the human rights record of each candidate through criteria such as focusing on their cooperation with human rights bodies such as the Council, their support for civil society, their engagement with UN Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures, among others.

Candidates were also expected to put forward voluntary pledges and commitments on what they will achieve as members – at both domestic and international level. Together, both should inform voting States’ decisions of whether to support them in the election.

Through Council membership, States commit themselves to 'uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,' and to fully cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms. Voting States must treat human rights considerations as paramount in electing members to the Council, and prioritise human rights over political or economic interests.


Who are the candidates to the Human Rights Council elections 2025-2027? 

This year 19 countries are running for 18 seats. Scorecards of the candidates are as below: 

  • African States: Benin, DRC, Ethiopia, Gambia and Kenya (5 candidates for 5 seats: closed slate)
  • Asia and the Pacific States: Thailand, Cyprus, Marshall Islands, Qatar, Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia (contested: 6 candidates for 5 seats)
  • Latin America and Caribbean States: Bolivia, Mexico and Colombia (3 candidates for 3 seats: closed slate)
  • Western Europe and other States: Spain, Iceland and Switzerland (3 candidates for 3 seats: closed slate)
  • Central and Eastern Europe States: Czechia and North Macedonia (2 candidates for 2 seats: closed slate)

To date, the following countries have published voluntary pledges: Czechia, Cyprus, Iceland, Qatar, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Kenya, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand.


Sources and criteria for the scorecards

The sources and criteria for the scorecards are set out below:



Previous terms 

OHCHR website, List of past members of the Human Rights Council

Has the State submitted a public pledge on its candidacy

United Nations Documents Search

Has the State submitted a public pledge on its candidacy in a timely manner 

United Nations Documents Search or ISHR Web site if the candidate State provides it, by 1 June 2024.

Has the State supported all country-specific resolutions at the HRC or GA

The State did not vote against any country-specific resolution that is consistent with the objective human rights criteria and the promotion and protection of human rights at the HRC during its current or last term; or at the General Assembly in the last year. 

Has the State played a leadership role on country situations at the Council

Fulfilled commitments set out in the joint statement at the 32nd Council session presented by Ireland, resulting in significant attention on at least two country situations, by leading (pen holder) or delivering a joint statement dedicated fully or substantially to a country situation, or leading a resolution (pen holder or member of core group) or a request for a special session (initiating the request as a sponsor). 

*This includes any country situation in respect of which the State has played a non-public leadership role resulting in collective action at the Council.

Has the State accepted all country visit requests

OHCHR website, Country visits and special procedures 

*Country visits requests made more than 6 years ago without a reminder sent by the special procedures are not counted.

Has the State sent a substantive reply to all communications received from Special Procedures

OHCHR database, Communications sent and replies received

*Communications received more than 6 years ago are not counted.

Has the State developed and published an action plan for implementation of the UPR recommendations

 Information provided and published by the State

Has the State submitted a UPR mid-term report

OHCHR mid-term report page

Has the State ratified the 9 Core international human rights treaties and the related optional protocols

Ratification status of the 9 core international human rights treaties and optional protocols: ICCPR, ICESCR, ICERD, CEDAW, CRC, CAT, CED, CPRD, ICMW. Optional Protocols: ICCPR-OP2, CRC-OP-AC, CRC OPSC, OP-CAT

Has the State accepted all individual complaint mechanisms

Individual complaints mechanisms of 9 core international human rights treaties: ICCPR-OP1, CAT (art 22), CERD (art 14), CEDAW-OP, CRPD-OP, CED (art 31), CMW (art 77), ICESR-OP, CRC-OPIC

Does the State have no outstanding treaty body reports

OHCHR website, Reporting Status [as of 31.12.2023]

Does the State have no case of unresolved reprisals related to UN engagement high-lighted in Secretary-General reports (2013-2023)

OHCHR website – Acts of intimidation and reprisal for cooperation with the United Nations in the field of human rights

Has the State spoken out expressing concern about particular victims of reprisals  by name at the HRC or GA

Publicly expressed concern about victims of reprisals by name during debates at the GA or the HRC including the annual interactive dialogue with the Assistant Secretary-General on reprisals or UPR.

Has the State sponsored the last HRC and Third Committee resolutions on human rights defenders, civil society space and reprisals

HRC49 human rights defenders, HRC53 civil society space, HRC54 reprisals, GA78 human rights defenders.

Does the State have an NHRI in conformity with the Paris Principles (A-status)

GANHRI (as of November 2023)

Has the State paid its UN contributions in a timely manner

Paid its contributions for the year 2023 in the first three quarters of 2023 (i.e. by end of September 2023), UN Committee on Contributions

Acknowledging the limitations of objective criteria in providing a complete picture, we encourage these 'at-a-glance' objective scorecards to be read in conjunction with the more in-depth reporting on country situations and human rights records such as the world reports produced by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.


Attend our pledging event!

Voting on candidates for the Human Rights Council will take place at the UN General Assembly in October 2024. Ahead of the elections, ISHR and Amnesty International will hold a Pledging Event to take place online on 4 September, 2024.

Register to participate

We encourage all States, civil society, national human rights institutions as well as international and regional human rights experts to attend and participate in the event including by submitting questions to be asked to candidate States ahead of the pledging event. 

Submit your question