World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Blueprint for new, more effective UN human rights

Blueprint for new, more effective UN human rights body unveiled

Seeking to dramatically bolster the protection of human rights around the world, the President of the United Nations General Assembly today unveiled the draft blueprint for a new Human Rights Council with higher status and greater accountability than the much-criticized Human Rights Commission that meets yearly in Geneva.

“While we will build on the positive achievements and best practices of the Commission, some of the elements we are considering will make the Human Rights Council a truly new and different body – a fresh start,” Jan Eliasson of Sweden said in introducing the draft resolution for the body, which was called for by world leaders at the September 2005 summit in New York.

According to Mr. Eliasson, a major improvement of the proposed Council is the requirement that its members, elected individually by the Assembly, would be judged on their human rights records with the proviso that they can be suspended if they themselves commit gross and systematic violations.

“We were looking for something that would show muscle in cases of gross violations,” he said of this provision at a UN Headquarters press conference, after his introduction of the draft. He expressed hope that this provision, in particular, would be approved and used wisely by Assembly Members.

Mr. Eliasson also said that the new Council would have a higher standing as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, would meet year round as opposed to the six-week annual session of the Commission, and conduct a “universal, periodic review” of all States’ adherence to human rights norms, starting by scrutinizing its members.

In addition, Mr. Eliasson said that the latest text took heed of the violence over the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad by including a preambular paragraph on the need for dialogue and understanding among civilizations, cultures and religions.

Praising the proposed body, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: “Its ability to meet throughout the year, and when necessary for longer than the Commission has done, will allow the Council to sound the alarm and bring urgent human rights crises to the attention of the world community.”

At the same time, Mr. Annan said, “the Council will preserve the best features of the Commission, including the use of independent rapporteurs and the opportunity for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to play their essential role in the Organization’s human rights work.”

He stressed that the President’s text is the product of many months’ efforts to reach consensus, and that while no delegation will get everything it wants – indeed, Mr. Annan himself said he would have preferred States be elected by a two-thirds majority – the Council could be a basis for a more effective base for human rights protection.

A decision on the proposal could come as early as next week, according to Mr. Eliasson. Mr. Annan urged Member States to quickly approve the latest draft.

“But that will be only the first step in a process of change and renewal,” he cautioned. “No technical fix can make all the difference.”

“Indeed, how different the Council is from the Commission will depend in large part on how committed Member States are to make it better, and how they act on that commitment in the weeks and months ahead,” he concluded.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>