WASHINGTON - The U.N. General Assembly voted ''overwhelmingly'' on a resolution to set up a new Human Rights Council to replace the ''much-criticized'' Human Rights Commission on Wednesday.
After months of intensive negotiations, the new Human Rights Council was adopted by a vote of 170 in favor and 4 against, with the United States, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau opposed to the new Council and Venezuela, Iran and Belarus abstaining to vote.
The U.N. Secretary-General had suggested the council in a report to the General Assembly one year ago and said it would give the United Nations a much needed chance to make a new beginning in its work for human rights around the world.
General Assembly President Jan Eliasson highlighted several features that would make the Council a significant improvement including the Councils higher status as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly; its increased number of meetings throughout the year; equitable geographical representation; and the voting rights associated with membership.
The new Council will have 47 members and the first elections are scheduled for May 9 with the first session taking place on June 19.
Washington, D.C.based International Christian Concern, an interdenominational human rights organization, on Thursday said the new U.N. Human Rights Council was not what Christians were looking for but may be the best that the flawed U.N. can come up with.
The vote is basically a compromise, ICC President Jeff King told The Christian Post. It is not - as far as the Christian world is concerned - what we are looking for. It is more the best that they can come up with because the U.N. is such a flawed body.
Basically, he said, the old body was full of abusers that had insinuated themselves onto the committee and were protecting themselves from criticism. So the U.N. is aware of them and they wanted to come up with a new human rights council that would deal with this.
King acknowledged improvements made by the new council such as more frequent meetings throughout the year and a smaller council body, but noted that the council was still too large. He also expressed disappointment that a proposal to require 2/3 of the countries in the general assembly to support a countrys admission to the council, was dropped and is not part of the new agreement.
King concluded, The U.S. opposed the new council not because it is terrible but because it looks like it will be more of the same. It will be abused and the system will be open to manipulation, etc.
So it is not what we are looking for but lets cross our fingers. My suspicion is it will be pretty weak.