Annan: UN rights council should focus on Darfur

The UN Human Rights Council should broaden its focus beyond the Palestinian-Israeli issue to avoid accusations it is one-sided, Kofi Annan said Tuesday. Speaking to reporters in Geneva for the last time before he steps down as secretary-general at the end of the year, Annan said the council's preoccupation with Israel's actions in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories while ignoring the situation in Darfur had caused some to wonder whether it had "a sense of fair play." "They (the council members) have tended to focus on the Palestinian issue, and of course if you focus on the Palestinian-Israeli issue without even discussing Darfur and other issues, some wonder 'what is this council doing?"' he said. The 47-member council, which earlier this year replaced the discredited Human Rights Commission, has been severely criticized by some countries, including the United States, for moving four times to condemn Israel but not taking up human rights violations in Myanmar, North Korea or Sudan.