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U.N. Human Rights Council: New Members Added

(May 21, 2009) The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an intergovernmental organization within the United Nations system, established by the General Assembly in May 2006 by virtue of Resolution 60/251, to replace the Commission on Human Rights. (G.A. Res. 60/251, U.N. Doc. A/RES/60/251 (Apr. 3, 2006), available at It has 47 member states, which are elected by an absolute majority of votes in the 192-member General Assembly and are required to promote and protect human rights. The seats are distributed to five regional groups as follows: the African and Asian groups each receive 13 seats, the Eastern European group receives 6 seats, the Latin American and Caribbean group 8 seats, and the Western European and other States group 7 seats.

On May 12, 2009, the General Assembly elected 18 states to serve on the HRC for three-year terms. Five of these states were elected for the first time, including the United States, Belgium, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, and Norway. The following states were elected to serve additional terms: Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Jordan, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Uruguay. (Press Release, General Assembly, United States Elected to Human Rights Council for First Time, with Belgium, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, as 18 Seats Filled in Single Round of Voting (May 12, 2009), available at