Past successful campaigns

Since the Human Rights Council was created in 2006, human rights NGOs around the world have campaigned to ensure that the Council elections result in the selection of member states that “fully cooperate with the Council” and “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” as required by General Assembly resolution 60/251 establishing the Council.

Past campaigns have been successful in focusing attention on the human rights records of candidates and preventing some of the worst human rights violators from joining the Council. In 2007, an international coalition of NGOs initiated a public campaign against Belarus’ candidacy for a seat on the Council, highlighting Belarus’ dismal human rights record. Belarus failed to win enough votes from United Nations General Assembly for membership, demonstrating that the human rights records of council members do matter.

Similarly in 2008, Sri Lanka’s bid for re-election to the Council was opposed by both Sri Lankan NGOs and an international coalition of NGOs, based on the deterioration of human rights in the country and on the government’s use of its seat on the Council to avoid scrutiny. Sri Lanka lost its seat on the Council.