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

 


NGOs Urge Democracies to Lead On Human Rights

NGOs Urge Democracies to Lead at UN Human Rights Council


Geneva, September 13, 2006 -- An international coalition of 41 non-governmental organizations, including UN Watch, have called on democratic United Nations member states to work together to strengthen the world body's ability to protect and advance human rights and democracy.

In a statement issued on Monday, the NGO coalition urged member states participating in the UN Democracy Caucus to ensure that the new Human Rights Council, at its second regular session beginning on September 18, addresses the most serious human rights crises. "It is our strongly held view that the fate of the reforms to strengthen the UN's human rights system depends on the UN Democracy Caucus Members organizing a coherent, systematic, and continuous effort to ensure the body seriously addresses human rights violations in an even-handed and pro-active way," said the statement. In particular, the coalition called attention to abuses underway in the Darfur region of Sudan, which they argue demands a special Council session, as well as in North Korea, Uzbekistan, Iran, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

The coalition also urged Democracy Caucus members to work together at the Council to support a credible universal periodic review mechanism in which every UN member state will be scrutinized for its adherence to basic international human rights standards. The details of the country review system, currently being negotiated in Geneva, must incorporate a significant role for independent experts and nongovernmental organizations in order for it to be effective and credible, according to the statement.

"We are deeply disappointed that while 37 of the Human Rights Council's 47 members have officially signed on to to the Community of Democracies, most of these countries are ignoring their pledge to cooperate as a democracy caucus at the UN to uphold democratic values and standards," said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director.

According to a new 40-page report by UN Watch (available at www.unwatch.org), in the Council's first three sessions, only 11 democracies consistently defended these principles: Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. By contrast, democracies like Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, and Uruguay failed to uphold democratic principles in their votes at the Council. For example, the latter supported an initiative by Islamic states that amounted to a thinly-veiled endorsement of the notion that democracy leads to blasphemy. "It is regrettable that our report's list of counter-productive Council members includes these democracies. We urge them to move toward a postive approach, to respect their obligations by supporting democratic principles at the Council session that begins on Monday.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news