D.Gankhuyag: Mongolia’s human rights practices received high evaluations

Trans. by B.DULGUUN

Mongolia was elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last month at the 70th regular session of the UN General Assembly, with votes from 172 states out of 193 UN member states.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs D.Gankhuyag spoke about the significance and advantage of being a member of the UNHRC in the following interview.

Can you tell us about the advantage and significance of becoming a UNHRC member?

Mongolia started actively researching and preparing to become a UNHRC member in 2011. The UNHRC’s election is considered the second most competitive election, after the election of the UN Security Council. We were required to determine when to nominate our nation for UNHRC membership, determine when the preparation work should finish, assign personnel, and calculate other factors carefully. It was decided based on all calculations and preparations that Mongolia would nominate itself at the 2015 UNHRC Assembly in 2011.
The UNHRC is the principle UN office responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe, addressing cases of human rights violations, and making decisions on them. It organizes the Universal Periodic Review to assess and evaluate human rights protection in all 193 UN member states, as well as give recommendations for future goals and focus points. I’d like to underline that assessing and giving recommendations to other members is a very responsible job that requires experience and professional skills in the legal and human rights field.
Receiving votes from 172 member states shows that these member states recognized Mongolia’s past contributions to activities initiated by the UN and international communities and that they hold high expectations from Mongolia’s future contributions. Mongolia demonstrated its strong commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and strengthened the international human rights system by ratifying and committing to over 30 international human rights conventions. Hence, Mongolia has gained considerable amount of experience. Mongolia hopes to become a role model for other nations and show them that it’s good to learn from other countries’ practice by becoming a UNHRC member.
As for the advantages, Mongolia will be able to get involved and make real contributions in international affairs. It’s an opportunity for Mongolia to exercise its rights to freely express its position and opinions on international issues. The UNHRC is made up from 47 UN member states. Mongolia will participate in decision-making as representative of the remaining 146 member states.
Moreover, earning a seat in the UNHRC has enabled Mongolia to further expand the scope of its activities. Particularly, Mongolia can engage in negotiations, mutual experience exchange and expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation with other nations regarding human rights protection issues, international laws, good governance, humanitarian aid and many other fields.

What is the criteria for countries that are elected to occupy UNHRC’s 47 seats? Can any nation be elected?

Any UN member state is allowed to nominate itself to join the UNHRC. Their chance of being elected becomes higher if the nation meets all necessary requirements stated in the General Assembly Resolution No.60/251. The council’s membership is based on equitable geographical distribution. For example, 13 seats are allotted to Asia-Pacific states. This year, five seats for Asia-Pacific states became vacant and seven countries competed for it.

Can UNHRC’s membership be considered as a human rights assessment for the member state? Since Mongolia has been elected as a member, does it mean Mongolia’s human rights practice is evaluated highly?

Precisely. The fact that Mongolia was elected as a UNHRC member is definitely a high evaluation of Mongolia’s human rights practice, its achievements for promoting and protecting human rights, execution of its obligations to international treaties and conventions, as well as future goals related to human rights issues. This evaluation is clearly shown by the number of votes it received from UN member states.
Mongolia, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates and South Korea were candidates from the Asia-Pacific region at the UN General Assembly. Most of these countries have continuously participated in elections of the UN and international organizations, and have won many elections before. There are two reasons as to why Mongolia received the highest number of votes. First of all, Mongolia’s human rights practice was reviewed twice at the Universal Periodic Review and received high evaluation, with mostly positive comments at each session. This has impacted greatly on its membership in the UNHRC.
The other reason is related to Mongolia’s active participation in national and international operations for the promotion of human rights practices across the world. Our nation has made considerable efforts for all of this to gain its seat at the UNHRC.

Can you tell us how Mongolia came to win the election for UNHRC membership?

I’d like to emphasize that a nation’s global reputation and voluntary pledges to commit in international efforts for human rights issues are crucial factors for their qualification for a seat at the UNHRC. Mongolia was able to participate in such a large international election as a result of many years of effort, commitments of Mongolian diplomats and good foreign policies. There are many other things that influenced the election of Mongolia to the UNHRC. However, I’ll mention only a few of them.
Candidate states are required to receive votes from the majority of 193 UN member states, at least 98 votes, to be elected as a member of the UNHRC according to its election rules. However, this is still insufficient. Last year, Thailand couldn’t become a member of the UNHRC despite receiving votes from 136 states. This year, for example, Laos and Pakistan each received votes from 105 states and still couldn’t gain a seat at the UNHRC. Mongolia set an objective to receive votes from 140 or more states. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs developed a strategy to work individually with each UN member state and started to work systematically from 2012.
Requesting support and gaining support from other nations is a difficult task that requires high diplomatic skills. For instance, you have to research well about the status a nation holds in regards to human rights and begin discussions based on that knowledge, and carefully choose which points to highlight. In other words, you can’t disregard the other party’s position and constantly talk about things that go against their status and position. Even so, it takes significant amount of time and effort to research foreign policy and activities of 192 countries, explore possible sectors and issues our nation can offer cooperation in, and individually work and negotiate with 192 nations.

How long can a UN member state maintain its seat at the UNHRC?

The term of each seat is three years. Members can’t occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms. Mongolia will work as a UNHRC member from 2016 to 2018.

What will Mongolia have to do as a member of the council?

Our nation will be required to express its position and opinion on every issue and make its own contribution. The UNHRC is the key forum for inter-governmental human rights cooperation and discussions. It functions to provide support to member states by providing technical assistance and strengthening the nation’s capability to implement obligations they accepted through human rights conventions and treaties.
In addition, the council has important roles to review human rights situations in 192 UN member states, give assessment, give expert advice on a wide range of human rights issues, call attention to human rights violations from international bodies, and take measures to resolve these violations. There are 20 basic sets of issues that are annually discussed at the council meeting.
An average of 50 resolutions and decisions are made every year by the UNHRC and around 40 of them are decided through polls. As a member of the UNHRC, Mongolia will have to express its opinion and position on each issue. This will require proficient international political and diplomatic skills, not to mention good knowledge of international laws and legal environment, and experience.

Will Mongolia’s membership be suspended if it makes many human rights violations?

The General Assembly, via a two-thirds majority, can suspend the rights and privileges of any UNHRC member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership in accordance with the resolution approved at the 60th UN General Assembly. Previously, the UN General Assembly decided to suspend Syria’s membership of the UNHRC in 2011.

Who will represent Mongolia at the UNHRC?

A representative will be assigned to represent the government of Mongolia as our nation has been elected as a member of the council. The UNHRC’s headquarter is based in Geneva. Mongolia has a permanent representative at the headquarter. We’re currently researching our organizational structure as a member state. We have a previously developed proposal so we will modify it and submit it to the government.

Source: news.mn

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=17178

Posted by on Nov 30 2015. Filed under Prime Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

8 + = 11

Recently Commented

  • Oyun: www.theblueeconomy.org
  • Honheree: It is a sad and awful sight to see so many animals dead from dzuds. These have happened in the past and since 2004 there have...
  • Harvey Dent: Mongolia does not get 476,000 tourists a year. Its gets 476,000 arrivals, most of these are Chinese construction workers....
  • Honheree: It is good but unusual that a Mongolian is so forthright. I am D. Ganbold will be criticised by Mongolians for telling the...
  • Honheree: Be thankful Mongolia is so cheap. In USA lamb in stores costs 69,281 MNT /kg and sirloin which is cheaper cut of beef is...