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Israel to Chair Elections for UN Human Rights Committee

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations unanimously nominated to chair the elections for the UN Human Rights Committee.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/19/2014, 5:42 AM

Ron Prosor
Ron Prosor
Reuters

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, was nominated on Tuesday to chair the elections for the UN Human Rights Committee.

170 countries unanimously nominated Israel for this position, which comes a short while after the Jewish state rejoined the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Human Rights Committee (HRC) is the UN body tasked with monitoring human rights around the globe. HRC elections take place every two years.

“It was a great honor to chair the elections for the Human Rights Committee. The central role Israel plays to advance human rights around the world is the real answer to anyone calling for boycotts against Israel,” said Prosor in a statement he released.

This is the latest in a string of successes for Israel at the international body. Last week, Israel participated in JUSCANZ, a UN grouping which advises the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and some other UN bodies.

Israel was admitted to the group in Geneva in 2010, and has now officially joined its deliberations in New York as well.

JUSCANZ is comprised of 15 countries, including Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, whose names make up the acronym. Norway and Switzerland are part of the group as well.

Israel was also formally accepted as an observer to the Pacific Alliance, a bloc of five Latin American countries including Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Costa Rica. Israel is the first Middle Eastern country to be granted observer status in this group.

In December, Israel was approved to join the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) Western European and Others Group (WEOG).

The Jewish state hopes to run and win a rotating seat on the UN Security Council for the first time ever for 2019-2020. It has been backed for this move by the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who pledged last week that she would fight and “not give up” to get Israel a seat on the UN Security Council.

These moves are significant given the UN’s long-standing bias against Israel, to which the world body’s head, Ban Ki-moon, admitted several months ago in a conversation with Israeli students.

Ban later backtracked on his comments and, when asked about them by a journalist, responded, “No, I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the United Nations.”