Credibility of the UN at stake

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15 Mar 2007
[International Secretariat]
Topic: International human rights law
Amnesty International's Secretary General has warned that the credibility of the UN Human Rights Council and of the entire UN is at stake.
Irene Khan, on the occasion of the Fourth Session of the UN Human Rights Council, said that the UN Human Rights Council was born out of an incomplete process of the reform of the United Nations, which should also include reform of the Security Council. Speaking at apress conference in Geneva, Ms Khan said that one Council was created and another one was not fully reformed.

"The failures and frustrations of one aspect of reform should not be allowed to cast a shadow over the rest. Governments need to take a principled and constructive approach based on human rights in this Council - or they will undermine confidence in the entire UN and that is a dangerous, zero-sum game for all sides."

Ms. Khan said that it is very important for the UN system to restore confidence in itself. Describing the Human Rights Council is one ofthe key achievements of the UN reform process of 2005, Irene Khan said that, for the last nine months, its protection mandate has been put in cold storage while it focuses on its architecture.

"Architecture is important -- it is important that the Council gets it right. The Special Procedures form an important part of such architecture, which is why NGOs have launched a petition calling for their preservation."

She said that today's discussion may be a technical one on Special Procedures, but it has very important implications not just for the Council but for human rights and the UN. The Special Procedures-- the Human Rights Council's special rapporteurs and representatives, independent experts and working groups -- are among the most innovative, flexible and responsive tools created by the UN to promote and protect human rights.

For further information: Read Irene Khan's full speech at the Geneva Press Conference

Sign the petition calling for the preservation of the Special Procedures