Saving the credibility of the UN Human Rights Council

  • Date / 6 November 2007

IHEU has endorsed a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly, signed by over 20 NGOs, in an attempt to save the credibility of the Human Rights Council.

Tragically, as human rights violations intensify in Belarus and Cuba, the General Assembly is about to approve a proposal to dismiss the independent UN human rights experts who report on abuses in both countries, eliminating these vital mandates forever.

In the week of Nov. 5th, the UN General Assembly will be asked to approve and put into effect the scandalous June 2007 proposal by the Human Rights Council to
(a) make it harder than ever before to adopt country resolutions against Burma, Sudan, North Korea and other abusers;
(b) intimidate independent experts with a restrictive “code of conduct,” and
(c) breach the promise of a clean agenda.
To add insult to injury, the agreement was rushed through late at night following unprecedented irregularities that included denying the Canadian delegation the right to vote.

A majority of the GA proved twice last year that it can do the right thing for the victims in Belarus, as well as on other human rights matters. We hope that this proposed amendment wil help the General Assembly to again do the right thing.

Proposed General Assembly Resolution on the Human Rights Council

The General Assembly,

Taking note of Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 of 18 June 2007,

1. Welcomes the text entitled ‘United Nations Human Rights Council:Institution-Building’, as contained in the annex to the
present resolution, including its appendices, subject to the following amendments:

a) The mandate of the independent expert to investigate the human rights situation in Cuba shall not be eliminated, and is hereby renewed;

b) The mandate of the independent expert to investigate the human rights situation in Belarus shall not be eliminated, and is hereby renewed;

c) Section 117(d) of the resolution, purporting to impose restrictions on the effective introduction of country resolutions, is hereby repealed; and

d) Item 7 of the Agenda and Programme of Work, purporting to institutionalize the permanent indictment of Israel as a special agenda item, and which has been criticized by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human rights Louise Arbour, is hereby repealed.

2. Expresses its grave concern that on 19 June 2007, Canada, a Council member, was denied its right to vote on the resolution, and that the resolution was never put to the plenary for action, and calls on the Council in future sessions to fully respect the rules and procedures of the General Assembly.


United Nations Watch

Freedom House

Directorio Democratico Cubano

International Religious Liberty Association

Darfur Peace and Development Centre

International Humanist and Ethical Union

Environmental Protection Society (EPS)

Ingenieurs du Monde

Centrist Democratic International

Pax Christi Australia

Women’s Board – ECS

International Federation of Social Workers

UN Reform Advocates

International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists

B’nai B’rith International

Endeavour Forum Inc.


Association of World Citizens

International Council of Jewish Women

Women’s Sports Foundation

World Union for Progressive Judaism

Vides International

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