Amnesty Slams UN Commision on Human Rights as 'Unable And Unwilling To Address Human Rights Violations'

The Commission failed to adopt draft resolutions on China, Chechnya, Zimbabwe and the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, repeatedly using the “no action” procedure to prevent discussion of resolutions on China and Zimbabwe.

Amnesty International said:

“The Commission has demonstrated that it must reform itself if it is to fulfil its responsibility to protect human rights and denounce violations wherever they occur.”

The Commission’s complete lack of engagement with the human rights situation in Iraq was a powerful example of its inability to address one of the starkest human rights situations of the day.

Amnesty International said:

“One year after the war, Iraq remains in a difficult transition from a brutal dictatorship that engaged in massive violations of human rights to a government which we hope will respect human rights.

“Now is the time for the Commission to step in - human rights protection supported by monitoring, assistance and cooperation is of crucial importance to a successful transition.”

In addition, countries with serious human rights violations were addressed in Chair’s statements or under the “agenda for advisory services and technical cooperation”, giving the erroneous impression that these problems can be resolved principally by capacity building. Discussion of the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories continued to be dominated by political considerations.

Amnesty International welcomed, however, the decision of the Commission to designate an independent expert to assist the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in addressing the relationship of human rights and counter-terrorism measures.

Amnesty International said:

“This is a welcome initiative, but the Commission on Human Rights must establish a more proactive mechanism to monitor the global impact of counter-terrorism measures on human rights. It must undertake in-country investigations and interact directly with relevant states.”

Amnesty International was deeply disappointed at the tone of the discussion on sexual orientation. The organisation was disturbed by the sharp, exaggerated and occasionally personalised criticism with which some governments addressed the Commission's own human rights experts.

Amnesty International noted with satisfaction the resolutions on Belarus and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea and the Chair’s statements on Haiti and Nepal, and welcomed the importance that the Commission attached to the elimination of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Its resolution strongly condemns violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in all its forms, calls on states to eliminate such violence, and mandates the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to develop indicators for violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and for efforts by states to eliminate it. This is an important concrete step towards achieving greater implementation at the national and local levels of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's right to freedom from violence.

Another positive development is that the Commission addressed companies’ responsibility for human rights for the first time and placed it firmly on the Commission's agenda. The Commission acknowledged the need to strengthen standards on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights.

At the start of the session, Amnesty International challenged the Commission to reform itself by establishing transparent and objective criteria for selecting the countries it scrutinises, and by establishing a more effective system for monitoring and evaluating the implementation by States of the Commission's recommendations.

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