[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official website] told delegates at the opening of the second session [UN materials] of the UN Human Rights Council [official website; JURIST news archive] Monday that the Council should pay more attention to the Darfur crisis [JURIST news archive] and not focus exclusively on the situation in Lebanon [JURIST news archive]. Urging delegates to "not disappoint the hopes of humanity," Annan said:
The world is watching your deliberations with keen interest. Do not forget why you are here. With great effort, Member States established this new Council to mark a new beginning. In the founding resolution of the Council they explicitly recognized the importance of universality, objectivity and non-selectivity, and of eliminating double standards and politicization.
In your inaugural session, and again in the special session you held in July, you were rightly concerned with the tragic events in the Middle East. I trust you will focus the same vigilance on violations and abuses wherever they may occur. At the present time I feel I must draw your attention especially to those to which the people of Darfur are being subjected, and which threaten to get even worse in the near future.
In August, the Council held an emergency special session on the Middle East conflict that ended with majority adoption of a resolution condemning Israel [JURIST report] for violating international human rights laws in Lebanon. The US later said it was "disappointed" [JURIST report] with the work of the new body, and contended it was ignoring other issues.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour also addressed the Council [transcript] Monday, beginning by praising the international community for agreeing on a draft disability rights treaty [JURIST report]. Arbour also called on the Council to hold Sudan accountable for human rights violations in Darfur, and reminded the Council to consider the effect of violence in undermining the human rights of Iraqi citizens. Reuters has more. The UN News Service has additional coverage.