A Fijian has been elected to head the United Nations Human Rights Council, the first time a Pacific country has held the role.
Fiji’s ambassador to Geneva, Nazhat Shameem Khan, will serve as the council’s president for this year.
She was elected by an unprecedented secret ballot after a diplomatic stand-off prevented a consensus decision.
Khan, who was a favourite of western countries, won 29 of the 47 votes, beating off competition from Bahrain and Uzbekistan.
Khan – and Fiji – will lead the council at a time of intensifying competition and scrutiny over states holding abusers to account.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama hailed the appointment as coming at a critical time for humanity.
New Zealand Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, said it would see Pacific voices represented at an important global forum.