U.N. commission should facilitate progress toward freedom, democracy
U.S. delegates to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights say that body's country membership must be reformed to prevent those who abuse human rights from using their positions on the committee to prevent criticism of their records.
"These folks get together and prevent, in collusion with one another, resolutions from being offered or being successful against them," said former Senator Rudy Boschwitz, referring to countries like Sudan and Cuba that secure membership in the commission through a selection process based on the United Nations' regional groups.
"The U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which sits in judgment of the human rights of others, must have some reasonable standards of membership," said Boschwitz, head of the U.S. delegation to the 61st session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. "This Commission must be made up of firefighters, not of arsonists," he said.
Boschwitz urged delegates from the commission's 51 member states not to leave Geneva without adopting a strong resolution on the situation in Sudan. "Nor must we leave this place without appropriate condemnation -- unless appropriate condemnations [are] more appropriately done in some other U.N. body -- of other abuses such as Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe."
The commission "must be part of the wave of freedom that is occurring at an accelerating pace worldwide," he added. "It should be a "facilitator of that wave -- not stand in its way or reduce its force."
Boschwitz and other members of the U.S. delegation spoke at a March 31 press conference in Geneva, where the 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights is in the midst of its annual six-week session. Over 3,000 delegates representing observer nations and nongovernmental organizations, in addition to the 53 members of the commission, are participating in the session.
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