Cablegate: Weog Rotation: New Zealand Fm Response

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 209853

B. STATE 172297

1. (SBU) Post delivered the letter (reftels) on WEOG rotation
in the UN Commission of Human Rights (CHR) from Secretary
Powell to New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff on August
16. On October 12 the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Trade (MFAT) provided the Ambassador a copy of
Goff's response, which reiterated the GoNZ's support for a
CHR WEOG rotation scheme similar to that proposed by the
Dutch and Canadians. Goff noted that New Zealand's will seek
to ensure that any rotational scheme enable New Zealand's own
candidature for the CHR in 2009 ) 2011.

2. (SBU) Goff also expressed reservations about transparency
in any adopted scheme, and any suggestion of altering
universal membership in the CHR. Goff noted that the GoNZ
supports engaging with countries that violate human rights,
versus exclusion. Goff reaffirmed the GoNZ's commitment to
improving the overall effectiveness of the CHR, both by
advocating a reduction in redundant resolutions, and by
remaining actively engaged in negotiating resolution texts.

3. (SBU) MFAT informed Post that they have delivered the
original of the letter through their Embassy in Washington.
Text of letter follows:

The Honourable Colin Powell
Secretary of State

Department of State

Dear Mr Secretary

Thank you for your letter of 10 August about the rotation
scheme for membership of the Commission of Human Rights.

New Zealand fully supports the development of a fair and
workable proposal for a rotational scheme for WEOG membership
of the CHR along the lines of the one the Dutch and Canadians
have been trying to take forward. We are involved in the
negotiations taking place about reviving the scheme. In
terms of New Zealand's interests we shall be seeking to
ensure than any rotational scheme agreed takes into account
our candidature for the Commission for the 2009-2011 period.
It is also important to us that any negotiations on a
rotational scheme be transparent. We hope that those few
WEOG countries in Europe continuing to seek longer terms for
themselves will withdraw their objections to the proposals
under consideration.

As to the question you raise about criteria for membership of
the CHR, while we appreciate US concerns that those that
violate human rights in their own countries should not be
setting international norms, we see difficulties in a system
which would classify some countries as being "appropriate"
and others as "inappropriate". Our approach is to engage
with countries which violate human rights rather than seek to
exclude them. Indeed in this regard we support universal
membership of the Commission.

I can assure you that New Zealand, which currently has
Observer status on the Commission, will continue to
demonstrate our concerns about human rights abuses by active
involvement in negotiations on the texts of resolutions and,
where appropriate, co-sponsorship of them. We shall also
continue to press for reforms in the way the CHR operates,
for example, by advocating the rationalisation of resolutions
to avoid unnecessary annual repetition.

Yours sincerely

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

End text.

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