UN Watch has released a damning report on the Human Rights Council, “Human Rights in Crisis”. The report gives a factual analysis of the activities of the Human Rights Council since it was created in 2006 to replace the Human Rights Commission, which was routinely criticized for its selectivity and politicisation. Regrettably, with few exceptions, the Council’s performance has been even worse. According to Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, the Council was “dominated by an alliance of repressive regimes, including China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia”, and had acted to systematically undermine core principles and effective mechanisms created by the generation of Eleanor Roosevelt and those that followed. The body’s democratic members had failed to make better use of its innovative mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review and the power to convene “special sessions”.
This report should be read and carefully considered by all member States of the Human Rights Council. Delegations need to carefully review their appraoch to the Council. Western delegations in particular should carefully consider the recommendation that they make better use of the mechanisms available to them, including Universal Periodic Reviews and the calling of special sessions of the Council to name and shame human rights violators. And they should resist to the full all future attempts to further weaken the UN human rights bodies.