Ireland gets 'major endorsement' with UN Human Rights Council seat
Ireland yesterday was elected to one of three seats reserved for western countries on the United Nations Human Rights Council, defeating stiff competition from Sweden and Greece, and gaining nearly as many votes as the US and Germany.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore, who directed Ireland’s persistent and systematic campaign, said the victory in a UN General Assembly vote was “hugely important” for Ireland and called it “a major endorsement” of Ireland’s international standing.
“This is a great day for Ireland and for the values which are dear to us,” he added. “Human rights and the protection of human rights are a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy.”
One hundred and ninety countries voted to fill three vacant seats in the Western European and Others Group of the 47-member body, which was established in 2006.
Fifteen seats from other regional groups were also filled, for three years beginning in January 2013.
Ireland won 124 votes, only seven fewer than the US and three fewer than Germany.
Sweden, which has for the past year dispatched a roving envoy around the world for the sole purpose of winning a seat on the council, won 75 votes. Greece got 78.
The council is widely viewed as the third most important UN body, after the Security Council and the General Assembly.