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US rejoins UN Human Rights Council, years after walk-out

The United States returns to the UN Human Rights Council today, three-and-a-half years after its dramatic walk-out — time seized upon by China to assert wider influence.

The United Nations General Assembly elects 18 new members of the UN’s top rights body, with countries kicking off their three-year council term from January 1.

Though member states were chosen in a secret ballot, the election was a non-contest, with 18 candidate countries standing for 18 seats.

Beyond the United States, the other states elected are: Argentina, Benin, Cameroon, Eritrea, Finland, Gambia, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Montenegro, Paraguay, Qatar, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneval discusses a resolution condemning Israeli actions on the Golan Heights, on March 22, 2019. (Screenshot/UN WebTV)

The council is tasked with promoting and protecting human rights worldwide, addressing violations and making recommendations, but the election of Eritrea again raises the issue of having authoritarian regimes on the body.

Under former US president Donald Trump, the United States quit the council in 2018, accusing it of hypocrisy and obsession with haranguing Israel.

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