10.24.2005

The International Institutionalization of Human Rights

The United States is working to replace the U.N. Commission on Human Rights with a new, legitimate and effective body.

That is truly a necessary task. I see the efforts for combining the human rights into the international order as a deliberate pursuit to vitalizing the international order by providing extraordinary foundations may replace the chaos of the post-cold war international order.

The United States and the European Union must do their best, including practicing pressure, to impose preliminary foundations of the authority of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. It is not enough to have an auxiliary U.N. human rights body. It must have a competence and some mandate albeit this mandate, in its scope, is subject to the evolving of the international order.

Here are some details on the U.S. initiative:

(Source: International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)

U.N. Human Rights Body Must Exclude Violators, U.S. Official Says

Supports doubling funding for Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights

Washington -- The United States is committed to working with other United Nations members to replace the discredited U.N. Commission on Human Rights with a new, legitimate and effective body before March 2006 when the current commission is scheduled to again convene, says a senior official in the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

Mark Lagon, speaking October 18 in New York to the U.N. working group seeking to replace the commission with a new Human Rights Council, said that the essential component of the new body’s mandate would be the ability quickly to address urgent and continuing human rights violations and to offer technical assistance and capacity-building resources to countries seeking to strengthen domestic human rights protections.

“We are seeking the creation of a U.N. human rights mechanism that can more effectively reach out to countries to assist them in meeting their human rights commitments and obligations,” he said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Lagon said the United States believes the new organization should be limited to “a strong, committed, and smaller membership” of about 30 nations. The U.N. members, he said, “should not make room on the council for countries that only seek to undermine the effectiveness of the U.N.’s human rights machinery and limit its appropriate role.”

At a minimum, governments that are under Security Council sanctions for human rights abuses should be ineligible for membership, he said.

The United States also proposes that prospective members be individually and directly elected by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly, that they submit a letter outlining their membership qualifications to the secretary-general, and that they have the specific endorsement of majority of U.N. countries within their region.

“The United States is committed to working with the U.N. member states until we arrive at an entity we can stand by with pride and confidence,” Lagon said.

He also noted that the United States supports a doubling of the regular funding of the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights because “when states seek help, they should get it.”

The text of Lagon’s remarks is available on the Web site of the United States Mission to the United Nations.

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