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UN rights investigators must remain independent: Chile president

[JURIST] Chilean President Michelle Bachelet [official website] urged members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website; JURIST news archive] to adopt measures to ensure the independence of UNHRC investigators [press release, in Spanish]. Speaking during a special UNHRC session, Bachelet appealed to the 47 member countries to pass agendas and organization rules in the UNHRC's upcoming 5th session [UN materials] that will allow independent experts and NGOs to participate in regular reviews of human rights in various countries. Bachelet's proposal is opposed by many countries that have sought to impose a "code of conduct" upon the human rights body's investigators. Member states have also sought to elect members of fact-finding missions rather than have members appointed by the council's president. Both proposals face criticisms from human rights groups who say that such measures will infringe upon the independence of the investigators.

In May, the UNHRC elected [official results; JURIST report] Angola, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Madagascar, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Slovenia, South Africa to three-year terms on the council, which was established last year to replace the UN Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission was often criticized for allowing the membership of states that have committed serious human rights violations. Those states often would create informal alliances preventing the commission from investigating or condemning human rights violations. AP has more.

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