Blogs > HNN > UN AND HUMAN RIGHTS: A SCREAMING START

Apr 26, 2008 1:20 pm


UN AND HUMAN RIGHTS: A SCREAMING START



Here is the good news - the Economist reports about the atrocity that is the old/new UN Human Rights Commission. The bad news is everything else:

A new UN institution is struggling to prove that it is doing better than its unloved predecessor. Thanks to an obsession with Israel, it isn't, yet

TWO years ago, the 60-year-old UN Commission on Human Rights was dumped. Kofi Annan, who was then the UN's secretary-general, gave the reason: the world's worst abusers had used the agency “to protect themselves against criticism or to criticise others”. When its successor, the Human Rights Council, started up a couple of months later, he urged it not to “squander” the new opportunity.

Many feel the council has done just that. Dominated by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement, the new body stands accused of being just as politicised, and just as intent on one-sided Israel-bashing, as its predecessor. Most human-rights organisations say privately that they are bitterly disappointed.

Among the complaints: its inclusion as members of some serial human-rights abusers; its decision to stand down “special rapporteurs” for Cuba, Belarus and Congo; and its failure to protect the integrity of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. Press-freedom groups were appalled last month when the council's Islamic members, backed by Russia and China, pushed through a resolution saying free speech could be limited out of “respect for religions and beliefs”.



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