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29 June 2006 Blog Home : June 2006 : Permalink

The New "Improved" UN Human Rights Council

Via feministe I am alerted to an oped in the NY Slimes by the Iran researcher for Human Rights Watch. In it the effectiveness of the new UN Human Rights Council is laid bare for all to see. I'm not going to quote from the Slimes, even when they publish something I agree with, so I'm going to go with the version on the HRW site:

(New York, June 22, 2006) – Iran should immediately remove Tehran’s notoriously abusive prosecutor general from its delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Human Rights Watch said today. The prosecutor general, Saeed Mortazavi has been implicated in torture, illegal detention, and coercing false confessions by numerous former prisoners.

“Iran’s decision to send Mortazavi to Geneva demonstrates utter contempt for human rights and for the new council,” said Joe Stork deputy director of Middle East and North Africa division for Human Rights Watch. “Iran has just confirmed why U.N. members refused to elect it to the Human Rights Council.” 

The HRW notes that:

In 2002, a human rights expert appointed by the old U.N. Commission on Human Rights to monitor the human rights situation in Iran took the extraordinary step of naming Mortazavi publicly in his report and calling for him to be suspended from the bench. 

Somehow I doubt that Mr Mortazavi will be arrested during his trip to Switzerland. One wonders what his speech to the HR council will consist of? other than duck-billed platitudes that is. And one wonders whether the HR Council will decide to follow even the minimal advice of HRW and refuse to have anything to do with the Iranian delegation while Mortazavi remains a member of it.

For those who may have forgotten the details, when the Magdalene Honourary Fellow for Ghanaian Car Imports made his speech earlier this month he said:

When Eleanor Roosevelt took the podium at the UN to argue passionately for the elaboration of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world responded.  Today, when the human rights machinery was renewed with the formation of a Human Rights Council to replace the discredited Commission on Human Rights, and the US chose to stay on the sidelines, the loss was everybody’s.

I hope and believe the new Council will prove itself to be a stronger and more effective body than its predecessor.  But there is no question that the US decision to call for a vote in order to oppose it in the General Assembly, and then to not run for a seat after it was approved by 170 votes to 4, makes the challenge more difficult.

If the new council is indeed to prove itself stronger and more effective it needs to deal with this Iranian delegation. If it permits this blatent challenge then rather than "stronger and more effective", the correct phrase will be "even weaker and less effective, with a spine like a jellyfish".

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin