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Egypt Appointed to the UN Human Rights Council, Internet Loses It

Human rights defenders across the world are taking to social media to express their outrage about Egypt's, Saudi Arabia's, and China's appointment to the United Nations' Human Rights Council.

Egypt’s appointment to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is sparking outrage among human rights defenders around the world, most notably Human Rights Watch which “expressed serious concerns about the poor human rights records of China and Egypt, among others running for three-year council terms,” in a statement release on October 24th.

But Egypt’s nomination is not the only controversial one, the UNHRC now includes other member states that are perceived by many in the international community to be human rights violators, such as Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and China, according to Egypt Independent.

The process took place on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York, during the UN General Assembly where member states cast their votes in a secret ballot. The vote resulted in Saudi Arabia’s controversial re-election by 152 votes and the ouster of Russia which only received 112 votes – an outcome which is believed to have resulted from Putin’s involvement in the war in Syria, after having been a member of UNHRC since 2006. Egypt emerged with 173 votes and China with 180.

The 14 countries elected to a 3-year term on the council also include China, Japan, the United States, Rwanda, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Brazil, Croatia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Cuba.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Egypt’s election is a reflection of the international community’s appreciation for "the nation's peaceful political process, which is steadily moving forward to build a modern civil state that respects human rights, democracy and laws, despite the critical situation that has been experienced by the region..."

"Egypt's membership comes concurrently with its membership with the Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, which reflects the senior position and growing faith in Egypt at the international level, and it confirms its leading role in promoting security and stability in the Middle East and Africa, along with the efforts to consolidate the principles of international law and respect for the UN Charter," said Abu Zeid.

Abu Zeid also added that Egypt is eager to "develop the international human rights system through a comprehensive vision and an integrated perspective that doesn't stand only for developing political and civil freedoms, but extends to the economic and social rights sought by the nations, taking into account the challenges of internal and regional circumstances of each state."

Egypt also currently holds a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council and a three-year term at the African Union Peace and Security Council.

Egypt secures a seat on UNHRC along with Saudi Arabia, China, Iraq, and they will probably be honouring ISIS during the inauguration!

Photo: Getty Images/Khaled Desouki