Annan Calls for New UN Human Rights Body
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says the current UN Human Rights body is harming the institution and should be replaced.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the conduct of the United Nations’ human rights body was undermining the credibility of the entire U.N. organization and urged governments Thursday to support his plan to reform it. “Unless we re-make our human rights machinery, we may be unable to renew public confidence in the United Nations itself,” he told the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which is holding its annual six-week session at its Geneva headquarters. “We have reached a point at which the commission’s declining credibility has cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system … and where piecemeal reforms will not be enough,” he said, in the text of a speech to be delivered later.
Launched some 60 years ago, the commission is the U.N.’s main mechanism for monitoring respect for human rights around the world. But critics say in-fighting and its inability to act firmly in the face of clear abuse have eroded its authority.
Annan has called for the commission, at present made up of representatives from 53 countries nominated by regional groupings, to be replaced by a smaller Human Rights Council, whose members would be elected by the U.N. General Assembly.
Annan’s right. A human rights body that includes the worst human rights offenders is simply untenable. Although he’s been dragged kicking and screaming to this point, he seems to finally realize that the cronyism that has defined the U.N. for most of its existence is undermining its legitimacy, at least in the West.