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UN Human Rights Council.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course Code
CAS PO 191
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Judith Swanson

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Iran warns against politicization of UN Human Rights Council TEHRAN – Iran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations has warned against efforts by certain countries to use UN Human Rights Council as a tool to advance their political objectives. Ambassador Eshaq Ale-Habib made the remarks in a statement on the report of the Human Rights Council, which was read out before the 67 Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. Following are excerpts of the text of the statement: Establishment of the Human Rights Council was one of the significant initiatives taken in the United Nations, not only for its contribution to the improvement of UN human rights structure, but fundamentally for its capacity and capability to change politicized environment of confrontation, that characterized the former Commission on Human Rights which ultimately gave its place to the Human Rights Council as a forum of dialogue and cooperation. It is highly expected that the Human Rights Council be a forum for dialogue, mutual understanding, and cooperation in achieving the universal realization of human rights, taking into account the cultural and national particularities of society. To our great dismay, new concerted attempts are emerging to a mere political tool for the sake of political ambitions of a few countries. It is deplorable that despite the existence of UPR (Universal Periodic Review) mechanism in the Human Rights Council, certain countries still continue tabling country-specific resolutions in the HRC and in the Third Committee of the General Assembly. It goes without saying that such resolutions are politically motivated exercises to satiate political purposes and interests of their sponsors. The Islamic Republic of Iran, along with the other developing countries, actively participated and positively contributed to the reform processes of the UN human rights machinery and establishment of the council with the view to put an end to a long time politicization and manipulation of the UN mechanism by few countries. With the successful performance of the first cycle of the UPR mechanism of the Human Rights Council and the launch of the second cycle, it was reapproved that the Universal Periodic Review constitutes a breakthrough in the work of the United Nations intergovernmental human rights activities. The rationale behind creating such mechanism was to ensure universality, objectivity, non-selectivity, and impartiality in the work of the Human Rights Council. The real performance of this mechanism, in a logical setting, is to allow the human rights machinery to act beyond the monopoly of a few in monitoring the human rights situations of the member states. On the other hand, the world is still witnessing attempts on the part of a few who wish to impose their own views and interpretations on the application of certain internationally agreed concepts and standards. The Human Rights Council should, by designing innovative approaches, confront such attempts. The Islamic Republic of Iran has taken a genuine and long-term approach to safeguard human rights by ensuring its full compliance with the relevant international commitments, while upholding the promotion of principles enshrined in its Constitution. We welcome constructive cooperation with the United Nations mechanisms on human rights. Iran is ready to cooperate with special mechanisms of the United Nations which are comprehensive and include all member states of the United Nations and not particular group of states. United States reelected to second term on UN Human Rights Council • HUMAN RIGHTS • NOVEMBER 12, 2012 • BY: RAYMOND GELLNER After a competitive battle with four other Western European countries for one of three seats available on the United Nations Human Rights Council, on Monday the United Stateswas reelected to a second three-year term. In all 18 countries were voted on to the 47-nation council. Along with the United States Ireland and Germany gained seats on the council in the “Western European and Other States” seat distribution. Sweden and Greece were the two nations from Western Europe out of the five contending which did not receive a seat. According to United Nations News Center, the other 15 countries elected to the council today for a three-year term were Argentina, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Montenegro, Pakistan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Sierra Leone, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, remarked after the selection of the United States to the council, “Four years ago, we took the decision that we could improve the work of the Human Rights Council by working within it rather than staying on the outside, and today the international community reaffirmed that it agrees with that judgment.” Ambassador Rice added, “We made the decision in 2009 to seek a seat on the Human Rights Council because the United States believes that we must be at the forefront of speaking out against human rights abuses and speaking up in favor of those who are suffering and living under the grip of the world’s cruelest regimes. And we are convinced that we are more likely and better positioned to strengthen the Human Rights Council by continuing our participation in it. I’m proud to say that today the Obama Administration’s leadership at the Human Rights Council has delivered real results. Today’s vote affirms that active U.S. leadership in the Human Rights Council and throughout the United Nations system will continue to pay real dividends for Americans and for the rest of the world.” According to the United Nations Human Rights website, members are elected in by the general assembly via a secret ballot. No member is allowed to serve more than to consecutive three-year terms at a time, though a nation may be reelected again after sitting out a term. In order to create a diverse global representation, the numbers of seats on the council from each region around the world are set as follows: African nations receive 13 seats, Asian nations receive 13 seats, Latin American and Caribbean nations receive 8 seats, Eastern European nations receive 6 seats and Western European and other nations receive 7 seats. Current members with term expirations in 2013 or 2014 are: • 2013: Angola, Ecuador, Guatemala, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Uganda. • 2014: Austria, Benin, Botswan, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kuwait, Peru, Philippines and Romania. Concerns over ‘landmark’SoutheastAsian human rights declaration Bikya Masr Staff | 19 November 2012 | 0 Comments The largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system highlighted their concerns about a draft for Southeast Asia’s first ever regional document on human rights protections, which the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is set to consider on Sunday for adoption. In an open letter to ASEAN member states, the experts said that adoption of a “credible” ASEAN Human Rights Declaration would represent a “significant step” by the 10-nation bloc to develop a “regional human rights system.” The letter expresses reservations with the current draft, noting that it is “imperative” ASEAN’s landmark human rights instrument “maintains international standards” if it is to complement the work of the United Nations human rights system. The experts’ key concerns include provisions in the draft addressing the right to life, a so-called “balance” between rights and individual duties, and conditions restricting people’s rights, according to a news release of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). “The group of international experts stressed [ASEAN’s] need to reaffirm in their Declaration the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms regardless of their particular political, economic and cultural systems,” OHCHR said, adding the group highlighted that 171 states had adopted this principle by consensus in the 1993 Vienna Declaration, and that ASEAN states had made a “significant contribution” to that effort in the Austrian capital. The regional declaration is one of the key mandates of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, which the association created in 2009, saying it was intended to “promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedom” of the 600 million people within their borders. Leaders attending the ASEAN Summit in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on Sunday are to consider it for adoption. For their part, the UN experts drafted their letter as members of the so-called Coordination Committee they created in 2005, under the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council’s so-called Special Procedures mechanism, which mandates them to independently investigate country specific or thematic human rights issues. The Coordination Committee effectively amplifies the experts’ individual messages by enabling them to speak as one, and also by giving them an opportunity to collectively coordinate and consult with OHCHR, and the broader UN human rights framework and civil society. The Committee’s chair, Michel Forst, noting that the main function of regional human rights instruments was to “establish minimum standards” that countries’ domestic laws must meet, indicated that the ASEAN draft declaration might benefit from more input by stakeholders outside government, according to the OHCHR release. “We call on all ASEAN member States to consult further with the people of the region,
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