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Archive for Tuesday, March 28, 2006

U.N. commission on human rights closes

March 28, 2006

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— The discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission held its last-ever meeting Monday, ending a 60-year history in which some of the world's worst offenders often used their membership to protect one another from condemnation.

It will be replaced by a new body - a 47-member Human Rights Council, which will hold its first meeting June 19 in Geneva. The U.N. General Assembly will vote on new members May 9.

"The good news is the commission is over. The bad news is that what replaces it isn't much better," said U.S. Ambassador Kevin Moley. "The commission will not be mourned by many who value human rights."

The commission was discredited in recent years when it admitted countries with terrible human rights records - such as Sudan, Libya, Zimbabwe and Cuba - that tried to shield each other from censure. China and Russia lobbied heavily to avoid having their performances held up to scrutiny.

The General Assembly voted earlier this month to replace the commission with the new council, ignoring U.S. objections that not enough was done to prevent abusive countries from becoming members.

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