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UN rights council agrees on internal rules

[JURIST] Members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNCHR) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday reached an agreement [press release] on final rules governing the body, agreeing to a final text that requires proposed resolutions condemning human rights violators to have the support of at least 15 members before they can be submitted to the 47-member body for a simple majority vote. The agreement, pushed by UNHRC chair Luis Alfonso de Alba [JURIST report], will also establish a system of periodic reviews for all UN member states, a move intended to dispel criticism that the UNHRC is biased. The proposal will also maintain the current system of annual report on specific areas such as Haiti, Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Myanmar, North Korea, and the Palestinian territories, while dropping investigations on the status of human rights in Cuba and Belarus.

The resolution proposal requirement is a compromise between China, which had sought a two-thirds majority threshold, and the European Union [JURIST news archives], which wished to maintain simple majority voting. De Alba also said that a "Code of Conduct" for investigators will be adopted, despite criticism from human rights groups who say that the code would infringe upon the independence of the investigators. The UN Human Rights Council was established to replace the UN Human Rights Commission, which was often criticized for allowing states with poor human rights records to become members. AP has more.

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