South Korea Fails to Win a Seat on the UNHRC Board

South Korea at UNHRC
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South Korea was defeated by a number of countries, including Bangladesh and the Maldives, in the race for reelection to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Wednesday, at a session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York, the Republic of Korea garnered 123 votes, placing it fifth among the seven Asian countries competing for board membership of the United Nations organization for the period 2023-25.
The Maldives came in second place in the Asia Pacific group with 154 votes, followed by Vietnam with 145 votes. Bangladesh received the most votes in the Asia Pacific group with 160. With 126 votes, Kyrgyzstan was victorious against South Korea. Both South Korea and Afghanistan were unsuccessful in the election, receiving a total of 12 and 1 vote, respectively. Bahrain withdrew its participation in the election before it was held.
In the election that took place this year, 17 countries competed for a total of 14 seats, which were divided among the following five regional groups: the states of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and other states, and Central and Eastern Europe states.
In 2006, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was founded with the mandate to advance and safeguard human rights all over the globe. It is responsible for conducting investigations into complaints of breaches of human rights committed in UN member nations. Despite the fact that none of the judgments reached at the UNHCR are legally enforceable, the organization nonetheless has a significant political influence over issues pertaining to human rights on the global scale.
South Korea was granted a membership in the UNHCR for a term of three years in 2006, 2008, 2013, 2016, and 2020.
Because South Korea was also a candidate in other elections, the Foreign Ministry in Seoul explained the outcome by saying that the nation was unable to concentrate its negotiating strength effectively.
This year, South Korea was a candidate for membership and leadership positions in a total of 14 international organizations, including the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). An official from the ministry said that the amount of elections in which it is participating is more than in the years before.
“During elections for international organizations, nations engage in negotiations with one another in order to win mutual votes or reach agreements to swap votes. But since we were candidates in a number of different elections, we used up all of our votes rather quickly “the official from the ministry said.
The country’s diplomatic missions are in charge of the discussions, and the source noted that the country’s negotiating strength for the UNHCR election was damaged as a result of the fact that there were numerous elections happening at the same time.
In the 13 elections that have taken place up to this point, South Korea has been successful in being elected as a member of eight different international organizations. Only one of the four elections that the government had chosen as a priority for this year, participation in the United Nations Economic and Social Council, was successful for the country.
This year will see the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) hold elections for membership on the executive council so that new members may be added.
The source went on to clarify that the choice on which elections the country will participate in was taken by a body in charge of election coordination in December of the preceding year.

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