HRC elections | How do the candidates rate?


ISHR has published ‘scorecards’ for each of the States seeking election to the UN Human Rights Council for 2017-2019.

(Geneva) - To coincide with the #HRCpledging side event that ISHR and Amnesty International are hosting at the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, ISHR has published a 'scorecard' for each of the States standing for election to the UN Human Rights Council.

ISHR Director Phil Lynch, said the scorecards offer a quick ‘at-a-glance’ comparison of the candidates, focusing on their cooperation with the Council, their support for civil society, their engagement with UN treaty bodies, and whether they have established a national institution to promote the implementation of international human rights at home.

'These criteria should be carefully considered by States when it comes to casting their votes at the General Assembly in New York to determine who is worthy of a seat at the world's human rights high table,' Mr Lynch said.

While the scorecards are intended to increase scrutiny and enhance transparency in the elections, ISHR acknowledges that data limitations and the need for objectivity mean that the criteria are primarily concerned with form rather than substance. 

'The mere fact that a State has accepted a high number of UPR recommendations, for example, says nothing about the extent to which those recommendations have been implemented on the ground,' Mr Lynch said. 

The criteria also do not capture the extent to which States, such as the United States, have shown leadership within the Council in addressing country situations of concern and human rights crises and emergencies.

'These scorecards should be used in conjunction with other important tools, such as the world reports produced by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and the election guide published by the Universal Rights Group,' Mr Lynch said.

Mr Lynch said it was encouraging that a majority of the candidate States had agreed to participate in public events in both Geneva and New York as such forums and public scrutiny help to generate public interest and ensure a greater level of transparency and accountability in elections to the world's peak human rights body.

'Human rights defenders and other civil society actors from all regions are increasingly turning to the Human Rights Council to promote human rights progress on the ground. This is particularly the case in States where civil society space is closing at the national level - such as in Bahrain, Burundi and Venezuela - where international monitoring is crucial to promote accountability and prevent regress - such as in Myanmar and Sri Lanka - or where international resolutions and recommendations may be influential in achieving progressive domestic reform - such as in Cote d’Ivoire or Tunisia,' Mr Lynch said.

'If the Council is to fulfil its promise and potential, however, it must be comprised of Member States with a genuine commitment to promoting universal human rights and defending those who advocate for them. The scorecards and #HRCpledging event are an important contribution in this regard.'

Scorecards are available for:

You can also download the full set of scorecards as a single file here.

Contact: Phil Lynch, Director, International Service for Human Rights, at


  • UN Human Rights Council
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Guatemala
  • Hungary
  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Tunisia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States