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EU supports UN rights council proposal despite US opposition

[JURIST] [JURIST Europe] The 25-member European Union (EU) [official website] has issued a statement of support for a draft resolution [PDF text; JURIST report] proposing a new UN Human Rights Council to replace the generally-discredited Human Rights Commission [official website], which has been severely criticized for not preventing rights violators from using their membership to protect one another from censure. The US is opposed to the proposal [JURIST report] sponsored by General Assembly President Jan Eliasson [official profile]. US Ambassador John Bolton [official profile] has promised to vote against it unless certain amendments are approved; the General Assembly vote on the resolution, originally expected this week, has now been delayed [JURIST report]. The EU statement says that the current resolution meets "the basic requirements for the establishment of a Human Rights Council" and that the EU "could therefore accept this text as a compromise."

The current draft calls for an absolute majority vote in the UN General Assembly (GA) [official website] but Bolton is suggesting the addition of a two-thirds vote for approval. He also wishes to reduce the number of members for the new council from the proposed 47 members. In response, Eliasson has voiced concerns about the difficulty of re-negotiating the draft as most UN members are only backing the draft in its present form. The General Assembly President is still hoping for a resolution before the Human Rights Commission meets on March 13 in Geneva. Reuters has more.

Angela Onikepe is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.

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