What’s wrong with the Human Rights Council?

The old UNCHR and the new UNHRC seem to be in effect Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

August 11, 2013 16:54
UN Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Human Rights Council is a body still in its infancy.  Set up only seven years ago by the UN General Assembly, it had one over-riding purpose – to rectify the egregious faults of its predecessor body, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The UNCHR had been a working body of the United Nations virtually from its foundation in 1946, but over its 60 years of existence it had accrued a raft of objectionable practices which finally made the organization totally unacceptable to governments and activists alike.

Among its more unseemly usages was to include flagrant human rights violators among its members and moreover, to elect such people from time to time  to chair the commission − representatives of countries like Zimbabwe, Algeria, Syria, Libya, Vietnam and China, all states with extensive records of human rights violations. These individuals, by opposing resolutions to the commission which condemned human rights violations, in effect sustained and promoted despotism and repression throughout the world.


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