Tuesday, March 21, 2006

UN Civil rights Panal: New and improved.

The Carter Center applauds the United Nations General Assembly (GA) for adopting the resolution creating a new Human Rights Council. Nearly a year after Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued his call for reform of the Commission on Human Rights, GA President Jan Elliason has produced a solid foundation upon which to build the U.N.’s new principal human rights body.

Many different opinions were taken into consideration to achieve this landmark agreement. Now, all those dedicated to the realization of human rights throughout the world should join in common cause to hold every government, big and small, to the highest standards of human rights.

This agreement presents an opportunity to seek new and innovative ways to address the world’s worst human rights crises. At the same time, each government will be expected to improve its own practices. Reciprocity and a constant focus on the rights of victims and the vulnerable are needed if the Council is to be productive.

If Jimmy Carter likes it, it's probably an empty promise

Indeed, the plan seems...less than impressive.

  • The new council is to conduct periodic reviews of the human rights records of all U.N. members, beginning with those elected to the council. A systematic violator of human rights could be suspended from the council by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly. There is no such review now.
  • The seats would be distributed among regional groups: 13 for Africa, 13 for Asia, six for Eastern Europe, eight for Latin America and the Caribbean and seven for a block of mainly Western countries, including the United States and Canada.
Quick: Name 13 African countries that are actually free and not full of corruption, and would vote to censor Mugabe, or the Sudan...

Yes, there are a few, but not that many...and why the over representation for Africa, which gets as many seats as Asia?

Answers, anyone? anyone?

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