Tuesday, February 28, 2006

U.S. Will Oppose New U.N. Human Rights Council

The U.S. government has announced that it will oppose the current proposal for a new Human Rights Council to take the place of the much-derided U.N. Commission on Human Rights. (The new proposal is here.) Although the U.S. has been pushing for a new Council, it is not happy with the current proposal, which would not guarantee the exclusion of countries with serious human rights abuses.

There are a lot of complicated policy issues and Anne Bayesky is right as usual on these things. One tedious legal issue: Can the U.S. block the new Council? The answer is no, because the new Council will be a subsidiary of the General Assembly pursuant to Article 22 of the U.N. Charter. The U.S. does not have a veto and, in fact, only has five votes in the GA, just like everyone else. So expect the U.S. to go down in flames next week if this comes to a vote.

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Blogger Nema Milaninia said...

I'm still not sure what the UN Human Rights Council is accomplishing that the treaty bodies are not already accomplishing. Parties to the ICCPR and ICESCR are required to make periodic reports, they have commissions (the HRC and CSECR) which provide interpretative guidelines for State compliance. Moreover, there are now mechanisms for private complaints (the first protocol to the ICCPR). It seems in these various functions, the proposed HR Council does no more, in fact does less, then is currently already being done. So isn't this another waste of UN resources when the creation of treaty and regional institutions have been so much more effective?

2/28/2006 2:52 PM  
Blogger Julian Ku said...

fair point. I wonder that myself. But for some reason, the Commission has taken on huge symbolic importance.

2/28/2006 8:22 PM  
Blogger Freudian Slip said...

It just amazes me, to see how other countries live. I just can't imagine. Why don't more people care about this?
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