Elections | New candidates for membership of Human Rights Council questioned on human rights records


In a packed event for recently-confirmed candidates for Human Rights Council membership, Costa Rica and Sudan spoke to their human rights records and pledges. This second 2019 #HRCpledging event in New York was designed to enable UN member States to make good, informed choices when they cast their ballots on Thursday.

Amnesty International and ISHR held their yearly Human Rights Council #HRCpledging events in New York and Geneva this September.  However, given that a significant number of States had not yet announced their candidacy, a second event was scheduled to allow recently-confirmed candidates to be questioned and to speak to their human rights records.  The event was broadcast live on Periscope. 

Costa Rica and Sudan embraced the opportunity to participate, taking questions from the room and twitter on issues as diverse as the protection of defenders,  hate speech against LGBTI people, and - in the case of Sudan - whether the government would cooperate with the International Criminal Court. The Sudanese representative,  Nawal Ahmed Mukhtar Ahmed spoke at length about the efforts of what she termed the ‘new Sudan’ to ensure the respect of human rights in the country. The participation of Sudan in the event was welcomed by several speakers in the room.

On the protection of civil society, the Ambassador of Costa Rica, Ricardo Carazo highlighted his own background as a human rights defender in Costa Rica to underscore his personal commitment to the issue.  Sudan noted that ensuring space for civil society was an essential precondition for a successful democratic transition.

The importance of competitiveness in elections for members of the Human Rights Council was also noted by several audience members. With Costa Rica’s candidacy,  States now have a choice who they vote for from the Latin American and Caribbean region. The Austrian delegate called this 'a very healthy development, which is good for all of us, and which is good for human rights.' The Moroccan ambassador added that there is 'always an advantage in having to choose.'  It should be noted though that neither the Western European and Others Group or the African Group are putting forward competitive slates this year.  

Benin - another of four African Group candidates - also accepted the invitation to participate but, at the last minute, was unable to make it.  Benin has since withdrawn its candidacy for membership. 

The elections for membership of the Human Rights Council will be  Thursday, 17 October, 10 am NY time.  

The list of confirmed candidates for Human Rights Council elections can be found here: https://www.un.org/en/ga/74/meetings/elections/hrc.shtml

For a snapshot of candidates' record of cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms and support for human rights defenders,  see ISHR’s 2019 scorecards.



Photo Credits: ISHR 


  • Africa
  • Latin America and Caribbean
  • Human rights defenders
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • Benin
  • Costa Rica