PRESS RELEASE

GENEVA, March 24 — UN Watch, a Geneva-based group that monitors the UN’s adherence to its Charter, expressed surprise that Kyrgyzstan was allowed to vote today at the UN Human Rights Council.

According to a provision of the UN Charter, a member state may temporarily lose its right to vote in the General Assembly if it does not pay its dues for 2 years. The General Assembly maintains a constantly udapted list on its website of countries not eligible to vote under this provision, where currently there are 4 countries listed, including Kyrgyzstan. The UN Human Rights Council is a subsidiary organ of the GA and must follow GA rules of procedure.

“At the first recorded vote at the current session of the Human Rights Council, we were surprised to see that Kyrgyzstan was allowed to vote,” said Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of the Geneva-based monitoring group. “We call on the President of the Human Rights Council to cancel Kyrgyzstan’s votes and uphold the UN Charter’s article 19.”

The fact that Kyrgyzstan cannot vote may have a small significance at the 192-member UN plenary. However, it could have real implications in the 47-member council in Geneva, where every vote is important and resolutions are often adopted with a small margin.

The absence of Kyrgyzstan, which has a generally negative voting record, could tilt the balance in favor of Western democracies on contested resolutions. For example, the US and the EU hope, for the first time at the UNHRC, to pass a resolution that would condemn Iran’s violations and create a special investigator.

The Non-Aligned and Islamic blocs have already lost the vote of Libya, due to its suspension by the General Assembly earlier this month. Kyrgyzstan’s absence could make the difference on important votes.

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