Geneva, Nov. 24, 2006 — In advance of Monday’s renewed session of the UN Human Rights Council, UN Watch today released a report card that warned of a downward spiraling of the body formed only six months ago. The Geneva-based monitoring organization also issued recommendations for concerted action by democracies to stop the council’s regression.
UN Watch appealed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to urgently intervene by taking a more vocal role to ensure council action against ethnic killings in places like Darfur and Iraq, as well as for victims of political and religious repression in China, Cuba and Zimbabwe, and in another 20 countries having the worst human rights abuses.
The UN Watch report card assessed the council’s recent performance in detail and gave the following grades:
- Ending politicization and selectivity: FAIL
- Addressing gross human rights violations: FAIL
- Establishing effective mechanisms: NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
- Ensuring robust NGO participation: SATISFACTORY
- Creating a new culture of dialogue and cooperation: POOR
- Championing the UN Charter’s democratic values: POOR
According to UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, despite high expectations following the reform adopted in March, “the new council has replaced the former commission, but remains a place where the foxes are asked to guard the chickens.” Neuer said the 47-nation body “has failed to take any action on genocide in Darfur, mass killings of Shiites and Sunni in Iraq, or repression in Belarus, China, Zimbabwe, or to scrutinize any other of the serial abusers that require immediate attention.” Instead, said Neuer, contrary to the repeated appeals of Secretary-General Annan for objectivity and universality, “the Council has devoted 100% of its censure powers to one-sided condemnations of Israel, in four country-specific resolutions and three special sessions.” It has yet to pass a resolution or convene a special session against any other state. “Victims of human rights violations around the world were promised change and they deserve it.”
Neuer said that “abuser states have been more proactive, better organized, and more cohesive than the liberal democracies and as a result have consistently dominated the debate. The Council’s human rights supporting states must immediately redouble their energy and start working together to retake the Council, before it is too late.”