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UN vote on rights council delayed after US opposition

[JURIST] A scheduled UN General Assembly [official website] vote on a draft resolution [PDF text; JURIST report] to create a new UN Human Rights Council has been delayed after the US rejected the proposal [JURIST report]. US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said earlier this week that the resolution has "manifold deficiencies" and that Washington wants to reopen negotiations or else postpone a decision on the rights body. The draft resolution, which reflects months of negotiations [JURIST report], would create a 47-member council with members elected by a majority of representatives in the General Assembly. The General Assembly would have the ability to remove members of the council who commit "gross and systematic violations of human rights."

The US has pushed for a smaller body to replace the current Commission on Human Rights [UN backgrounder] and has insisted [Bolton remarks] that it's important not to "settle for a new body which is at best marginally better than the old body." General Assembly President Jan Eliasson [official profile] has said that a majority of UN countries support the current resolution and has warned that any new negotiations could "lead to a result which is far below what we already have achieved." Eliasson on Wednesday called for a vote as soon as possible [UN News report] and said that "national positions have to be put in second place, and we now have to look for international solutions." Reuters has more.

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