Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Several New Members Elected to the UN Human Rights Council, Including the USA

The USA, Germany, and Ireland bested Greece and Sweden in the only competitive race for a seat at the Human Rights Council. This was the first time that the USA ran in a contested race for a seat on the Council, and a good sign that the rest of the world still regards the USA as a decent, human rights promoting country. “African, Asian, Eastern European and Latin American countries put forward uncontested slates, meaning candidates were virtually certain of winning one of the 18 open seats up for grabs in this year’s election on the 47-member council. Several human rights groups have criticized a number of the candidates as unqualified, including Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Venezuela.” (WaPo http://wapo.st/X0Mf5A)

UN Peacekeeping Mission in East Timor On Track to Finish By End of Year

The top UN peacekeeping official for East Timor briefed the Security Council on Monday on plans to successfully end the deployment of peacekeepers to the small country. This would be an historic milestone in East Timor’s 10 years since independence. “Also praising the Timorese people for what he called tremendous progress, Ambassador Sangqu said that “the key to the new phase will be national ownership,” in his briefing on the Council visit, which took place from 3 to 6 November and included representatives of Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, Portugal and Togo. The mission had met with non-governmental organizations, agencies on the ground and Government officials, who told them that UNMIT’s role had run its course and expressed the desire for a unique relationship with the United Nations focused on development.” (Security Council. (UN Security Council http://bit.ly/X0NhOT)