In a July 27th BBC News article, Steve Crawshaw, spokesman for Human Rights Watch, offers harsh criticism of the new Human Rights Council (HRC), based in Geneva and established one year ago to replace the UN Human Rights Commission: "I think it would be crazy to say that it has not been a disappointing year…The HRC should have been, if you like, a beacon of human rights…We really hoped that the new council would move things forward radically. It has, to be honest, failed to do so," states Crawshaw. The article goes on to note that "critics say the council is barely any improvement on its predecessor ? and now there are moves in the US congress to try to cut off funding." Later in the article, Kristen Silverberg, the US assistant secretary of state responsible for US policy, highlights the Council’s singling out of Israel: "It’s really been a grave disappointment to us…This is a council that devoted eight different actions to bashing and criticising Israel before it lifted a finger to help people in any other part of the world, including the long-suffering people of Burma, or North Korea, or Zimbabwe."

As NGO Monitor reported in our June 2007 Digest, as recently as last month HRW was still defending the allegedly reformed UN human rights body . HRW’s Global Advocacy Director, Peggy Hicks, claimed in June that the UNHRC still can be more effective than the old Commission and that the inclusion of Israel on the permanent agenda should not be viewed negatively because "in principle, at least, the council can scrutinize both Israeli and Palestinian behavior."

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