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UN Assembly president 'encouraged' by Nobel winners' support for rights council

[JURIST] UN General Assembly President Jan Eliasson [official profile] said Monday that he is "encouraged" by the public support of five Nobel Peace Prize winners for the proposed [JURIST report] UN Human Rights Council. Former US president Jimmy Carter [official profile], Costa Rica's Oscar Arias Sanchez [Nobel Prize profile], Kim Dae-Jung [BBC profile] of Korea, Iranian human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi [BBC profile], and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu [BBC profile] wrote a Sunday op-ed [text, free registration required] in the New York Times praising the initiative, echoing an earlier letter [text] in late February. In the op-ed they emphasized that many UN member states already support the current draft resolution [PDF text] still opposed [JURIST report] by the US, and said it should be accepted without further debate or changes:

Some have asserted that the proposal is just a weak compromise. We challenge this claim.

The new council creates new expectations that members will uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, fully cooperate with the council, and undergo additional scrutiny through a peer review. Most significantly, a member that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights can be suspended from the body.
A spokesperson for Eliasson said that he is continuing to talk with member states, including the US, and hopes to reach an agreement on the proposed council this week, ahead of the next scheduled meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights [JURIST report] which the Council is due to replace. The UN News Centre has more.

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