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UNESCO: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Labour, Rotherham

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, as a member of UNESCO's Executive Board, the Government voted for or approved the election of Syria to UNESCO's Committee on Conventions and Recommendations examining human rights communications.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Membership of the UNESCO Committee on Conventions and Recommendations is chosen on a regional basis from within members of the regional groups. As Britain is not a member of the group which elected Syria we did not have a vote in this election nor could we have intervened under UNESCO's rules. The group was uncontested and the Syrian candidate was elected by acclamation.

We remain committed to ensuring the UN human rights system continues to promote and protect human rights and will continue to cast our vote in open UN elections relating to human rights bodies based on merit, whether that be an individual standing for a treaty monitoring body or a UN member state standing for an inter-governmental body like the Human Rights Council.

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