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UN session on new rights council postponed to next week

[JURIST] UN General Assembly President Jan Eliasson [official profile] has postponed until next week a scheduled plenary to approve the proposed UN Human Rights Council [JURIST news archive], the body anticipated to take the place of the severely-criticized UN Commission on Human Rights. Eliasson had hoped to have a draft resolution [JURIST document; Eliasson briefing video] on the Council approved by the time the next session of the Commission was scheduled to begin in Geneva on March 13, but last-minute objections [JURIST report] from the United States - itself a severe critic [JURIST report] of the Commission - have forced a delay as diplomats attempt to negotiate an acceptable agreement on precisely what form the new Council will take.

Eliasson has said that he wants to proceed by consensus on the Council resolution, already a compromise document constructed through long negotiations: "I think it is very important that the president's text is adopted without a vote as is the tradition in the United Nations. If there is a vote, there is always the risk that a number of amendments are being proposed and that the draft resolution will be hard to recognize after such an exercise...". The UN News Center has more. AP has additional coverage.

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