UN Watch along with other NGO groups called on member states of the UN General Assembly to strengthen the draft for a new Human Rights Council. The statement called for the removal of a clause which gives member states the power to decide what constitutes "the most effective contribution" of NGOs at the council. This would limit the ability of NGO’s to speak out freely. It also called for the adoption of a clause, originally proposed by Kofi Annan, requiring a two thirds majority for the election of a member to the Council, in order to give democratic states the ability to block the election of serial abusers of human rights.

In opposition to this position, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, "to urge that the United States support the draft resolution for a new U.N. Human Rights Council" as it is, claiming that delay would "weaken the resolution" or "delay its adoption indefinitely."

Amnesty International also declared support for the new draft. Secretary General of AI, Irene Khan stated "the administration should not jeopardize the best chance in decades to establish a more effective UN human rights body." Neither HRW nor AI commented on the role their organizations played in reinforcing the political biases under the previous UN Human Rights Commission.

On March 15, the UN voted by 170 to 4 (3 abstentions) to implement reform without the suggested changes.


Related Article:

Joseph Laconte and Nile Gardiner, "Another Charade at the United Nations," The Heritage Foundation, March 24, 2006.



Back to March 2006 Digest