The fact that Sheikh Hasina's government received the largest number of votes at the UN is evidence of the faith that world leaders have in it.
By garnering 160 of the 189 votes cast in the UN General Assembly, Bangladesh has won the election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, or UNHRC's membership for the term 2023–25, making history. Given that this was the most competitive international election Bangladesh has run in since 2018, this victory is noteworthy. As the Asia Pacific group member with the most votes, Bangladesh won one of the four UNHRC seats after battling against seven other nations from the region. Vietnam (145 votes), Kyrgyzstan (154 votes), and the Maldives (154 votes) were the other three elected nations. Afghanistan and the Republic of Korea were the two unsuccessful candidates after Bahrain withdrew its candidature.
Bangladesh will be serving the UNHRC's 47-member Council for a three-year term for the seventh time. Bangladesh won the previous UNHRC elections in 2006, 2009, 2014, and 2018—effectively for all terms permissible under the Council's bylaws. The outcome of this fiercely contested election is a shining example of how the world community acknowledges Bangladesh's efforts and dedication to the promotion and preservation of human rights in both the domestic and international spheres.
This election also invalidates the defamation campaign by some politically motivated vested interests domestically and internationally that uses false and fabricated information to depict Bangladesh's human rights status unfavourably.
Amid charges by Western nations, including the United States, over enforced disappearances and human rights violations by Dhaka, this victory will not only disprove the allegations but improve Bangladesh's standing in the international community. It will also put additional responsibility to improve its own human rights record and be more watchful in this area.
A study was released during Michelle Bachelet's visit to Bangladesh as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in August, and it showed that Bangladesh was not among the nations about whom the UN was concerned over human rights. The resettlement of over a million strong Rohingya refugees was another feather in Bangladesh's cap. Additionally, Bangladesh's impressive performance in the UN peacekeeping mission had a favourable impact. Another important element was how well Bangladesh managed the consequences of climate change.
The fact that Sheikh Hasina's government received the largest number of votes at the UN is finally evidence of the faith that world leaders have in it.
(The author is a Sweden-based researcher and writer. Views are personal)