ICJ calls on UN member states to establish a strong Human Rights Council

The ICJ calls on UN Member States to adopt the draft resolution issued by the President of the General Assembly on the establishment of a new Human Rights Council to replace the Commission on Human Rights.

” While all our expectations have not been met at the end of these tough negotiations, this new human rights body which will hold a higher position within the UN represents significant progress for the universal protection and promotion of human rights,” said Nicholas Howen, Secretary-General of the ICJ.

The ICJ is particularly encouraged that the Commission’s best features have been maintained, including the system of thematic and country independent experts, the possibility to adopt country specific resolutions and the modalities of NGO participation. The ICJ also welcomes the more frequent meeting schedule that should allow the Council to react on time to both chronic and urgent situations.

The Council will have to build upon the Commission’s legacy, while addressing its shortcomings to make a stronger Council. “United Nations Member States have an historic chance to provide the UN human rights system with a stronger body that is able to address all human rights situations in a more effective manner”, said Nicholas Howen. Beyond the much-debated issue of membership, the ICJ strongly believes that the modus operandi of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms is essential.

Whoever the future members of the Council are, all Member States have agreed to commit themselves to the promotion and protection of human rights when seeking election to the Council. They should cooperate fully with the Council and its mechanisms.

“The adoption of this resolution will only be the first step towards the establishment of a stronger Council that is able to respond to human rights challenges in an effective and timely manner. UN Member States now have to implement the institutional progress they have just decided on”, said Nicholas Howen.

The ICJ encourages Member States to be creative once the Council is established, to develop ways to allow it to act more effectively than the Commission, including in terms of prevention, monitoring and timely reaction, in order to avoid repetition of past errors.

ICJ member states HRC-press release-2006 (full text in English, PDF)

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