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UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (UNHRC) Printer Friendly Page

The Obama Administration Will Not Make the U.N. Human Rights Council Effective
By Brett D. Schaefer
May 11, 2009

More UN Whitewash
By Brett D. Schaefer
April 3, 2009

Obama Joins Human-Rights Charade
By Anne Bayefsky
April 2, 2009

The U.S. Is Right to Shun the U.N. Human Rights Council
By Brett D. Schaefer
May 2, 2008

The United Nations Human Rights Council: A Disastrous First Year and Discouraging Signs for Reform
By Brett D. Schaefer
September 5, 2007

The United Nations Human Rights Council: A Disastrous First Year
By Brett D. Schaefer
June 1, 2007

The (UN-)Human Rights Council
By Joseph Klein
March 13, 2006

A Commission By Another Name
By Anne Bayefsky
February 24, 2006

U.S. Urged to Show Disapproval of Human Rights Council’s Actions
By Patrick Goodenough
December 17, 2009

Striking Back against Slander
By P. David Hornik
October 27, 2009

The United Nations Is Outraged Again, or: Department of Mideast Static
By Paul Greenberg
October 27, 2009

Stop Using Limited Powers In a Way that Expands Our Enemies' Advantages Over Us
By Caroline B. Glick
October 23, 2009

Israelis Took Unprecedented Steps to Safeguard Civilians, Says British Officer
By Patrick Goodenough
October 16, 2009

Obama’s Resolution to Stifle Free Speech On Islam
By Deborah Weiss
October 16, 2009

U.N. Chief Now Supports Move to Reopen Debate on ‘Israeli War Crimes’ Report
By Patrick Goodenough
October 13, 2009

Libya Tries to Force ‘Israeli War Crimes’ Report Onto Security Council Agenda
By Patrick Goodenough
October 8, 2009

US Tries to Break ‘Religious Defamation’ vs. Free Speech Deadlock at UN
By Patrick Goodenough
October 5, 2009

Libya, Iran Accuse Israel of ‘Genocide’ at U.N. Human Rights Council
By Patrick Goodenough
September 30, 2009

United Nations Human Rights Body Considers Divisive Report on Israel and Gaza
By Patrick Goodenough
September 29, 2009

Our Irredeemable International System
By Caroline Glick
September 21, 2009

The U.N. and Double Standards
By Joseph Klein
September 21, 2009

U.N. Disgraces Itself Again; Obama Helps
By Mona Charen
September 18, 2009

Democracies that Side with Repressive Regimes at U.N. Human Rights Council Pose Challenge for U.S.
By Patrick Goodenough
September 17, 2009

U.S. Takes Its Seat at U.N. Rights Council, with Fresh Controversy Brewing Over Israel
By Patrick Goodenough
September 14, 2009

Governments Urged to Improve Quality of U.N. Human Rights Council
By Patrick Goodenough
August 19, 2009

Israel on Trial
By Alan M. Dershowitz
July 1, 2009

The U.N.'s New Factfinding Mission
By Anav Silverman
June 29, 2009

Muted UN Response to Iran Crackdown
By Patrick Goodenough
June 26, 2009

Denying Reform at the UN Human Rights Council
By Joseph Klein
June 3, 2009

Human Rights Council Rejects ‘Interference’ in Sri Lanka – But Not in Israel
By Patrick Goodenough
May 28, 2009

No Free Speech for Them
By Robert Spencer
May 14, 2009

China Gets the Same Number of Votes as the U.S. on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council
By Patrick Goodenough
May 13, 2009

U.S. Joining Human Rights Abusers on U.N. Human Rights Council
By Penny Starr
May 12, 2009

China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia Set to Return to U.N. Human Rights Council
By Patrick Goodenough
April 28, 2009

Obama's Bailout for the Despots
By Jonah Goldberg
April 8, 2009

The UN’s Jihad against Free Speech
By Robert Spencer
April 3, 2009

U.S. Decision to Seek a Seat on Flawed Human Rights Council Stokes Debate
By Patrick Goodenough
April 1, 2009

Islamic States Mark a Decade of ‘Defamation of Religion’ Measures with another Success
By Patrick Goodenough
March 26, 2009

The Obama Administration Caught Double-Dealing On Israel
By Anne Bayefsky
March 3, 2009

U.S. Returns to Human Rights Council as an Observer, for Now
By Patrick Goodenough
March 2, 2009

China Eases Through U.N. Human Rights ‘Review’
By Patrick Goodenough
February 10, 2009

Israel Kicks Out Outrageously Biased UN Official
By Dion Nissenbaum
December 17, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
October 7, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
August 7, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
July 3, 2008

George Orwell Meets the OIC
By Robert Spencer
June 25, 2008

Free Speech Dies at the UN
By Robert Spencer
June 25, 2008

Discussion of Religious Questions Now Banned at UN Human Rights Council
By The International Humanist and Ethical Union
June 23, 2008

Islamic Nations Want Divisive Issues on the Agenda at UN Racism Conference
By Patrick Goodenough
June 20, 2008

Toews Attacks Arbour in House
By David Akin
June 17, 2008

U.N. Rapporteur Turns to Usual Suspects on "Islamophobia"
By The Investigative Project on Terrorism
June 13, 2008

UNRWA and NGOs: The Real U.N. ‘Insult’
By Jonathan Tobin
June 11, 2008

UN Human Rights Council Under Fire from Newspaper Body
By Patrick Goodenough
June 6, 2008

Bracing for Dugard
By Malvina Halberstam
June 6, 2008

UN-Believable
By Oliver North
May 30, 2008

'Deck Stacked Against' Israel Ahead of UN Racism Conference
By Patrick Goodenough
May 28, 2008

Islamic Bloc Nations Control One-Third of UN Rights Council Seats
By Patrick Goodenough
May 22, 2008

Free Nations Expected to Remain in Minority on UN Rights Council
By Patrick Goodenough
May 21, 2008

On Human Rights, the U.N. Once Again Strikes Out
By Joel Brinkley
April 29, 2008

Redefining Anti-Semitism
By Anne Bayefsky
April 23, 2008

The Second Time as Farce
By Nile Gardiner
April 23, 2008

Groundwork to Be Laid for Controversial 'Durban II' Conference
By Patrick Goodenough
April 21, 2008

Richard Falk: Professor of Paranoia
By Kathy Shaidle
April 17, 2008

HRW Publishes Criticism of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iran; But Vague on UNHRC Abuses
By NGO Monitor
April 14, 2008

The United Nations: Islam’s Gestapo
By Stephen Brown
April 11, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
April 10, 2008

UN Council Kicks Off Long-Awaited Rights Review Process
By Patrick Goodenough
April 8, 2008

The UN's Attack On Our Freedoms
By Joseph Klein
April 8, 2008

UN Human Rights Council Votes to Have Foxes Watch the Henhouse
By Lee Green
April 4, 2008

Fear of Democracy
By Caroline B. Glick
April 4, 2008

Khomeini Supporter Appointed Special Agent on UN Human Rights Council
By Gateway Pundit
March 31, 2008

It's Time the 'Human Rights' Bodies Did Their Job
By Dan Kosky
March 30, 2008

'Bias and Hypocrisy' Displayed at UN Rights Council, Say Critics
By Patrick Goodenough
March 27, 2008

UN Rights Council Still Silent on Tibet
By Patrick Goodenough
March 25, 2008

Cuba Says UN Rights Council Has Helped It Turn Tables on USA
By Patrick Goodenough
March 4, 2008

NGO Gaza Campaign as Prelude to the 2009 Durban Review Conference
By NGO Monitor
February 3, 2008

Human Rights Do Matter
By Daniel Fink
December 18, 2007

Fighting "Islamophobia:" Muslim Countries Impose Their Will on EU (and US) at UN
By Thomas Landen
December 10, 2007

From Defenders to Defamers
By Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
December 9, 2007

UN-doing Human Rights
By Brett D. Schaefer
November 21, 2007

UN Members Urged to Pull Human Rights Council into Line
By Patrick Goodenough
November 8, 2007

ReliefWeb (UN OCHA): Israeli UN Ambassador Describes Rights Council as 'Morally Bankrupt'
By NGO Monitor
November 7, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
November 5, 2007

HRW, Amnesty and other NGOs Ignored Burma
By Gerald Steinberg
October 2, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
October 1, 2007

Our Dead Are Our Fault
By Anne Bayefsky
September 28, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
August 1, 2007

Egypt's Human Rights Organizations Object to Egypt Joining U.N. Human Rights Council
By MEMRI
July 26, 2007

Islamic States Chide UN Head for Criticizing Human Rights Body
By Patrick Goodenough
July 26, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
July 2, 2007

The U.N. KO's Human Rights
By Joseph Klein
June 25, 2007

A Shadow on the Human Rights Movement
By Jackson Diehl
June 25, 2007

A Gathering of BMWs & Tyrannies
By Claudia Rosett
June 20, 2007

Cotler Addresses UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
By NGO Monitor
June 13, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
May 30, 2007

The Oppressors’ Club
By Anne Bayefsky
May 18, 2007

New UN Human Rights Body Plagued by Old Problems, Say Experts
By Monisha Bansal
May 4, 2007

NGO Activity in Brief
By NGO Monitor
April 18, 2007

U.N. Rights Council vs. Freedom
By Brett D. Schaefer
April 3, 2007

UN-istan
By Joseph Klein
March 12, 2007

In Rebuke to UN, US Will Not Seek Seat on Rights Council
By Patrick Goodenough
March 7, 2007

America Has a Duty to Keep U.N.'s Human Rights Panel on Task
By Jonathan Gurwitz
December 21, 2006

The U.N. Human Rights Council
By HonestReporting.com
December 8, 2006

International Human Rights Day 2006 -- NGO Complicity in Exploiting Human Rights Norms
By NGO Monitor
December 7, 2006

December 10th: Human Rights Day and NGO Action
By Rene Wadlow
December 4, 2006

UN Envoy Shrugs Off Rocket Attacks on Israel
By Julie Stahl
November 21, 2006

NGO Activity in Brief
By NGO Monitor
November 9, 2006

So Far, a Profound Disappointment
By Hillel C. Neuer
September 7, 2006

Republican Turns Thumbs Down on UN Human Rights Council
By Susan Jones
September 7, 2006

NOW Turns to the UN for Support
By Marianne Brennan
August 8, 2006

The NGO Network and the UN Human Rights Council - "Business as Usual"
By NGO Monitor
July 17, 2006

It's Always Israel's Fault
By Alan Caruba
July 13, 2006

Human Rights (Except for Jews)
By Joseph Klein
July 11, 2006

The UN "Human Rights" Travesty
By P. David Hornik
July 10, 2006

Like Predecessor, UN's New Rights Body Targets Israel
By Patrick Goodenough
July 7, 2006

Discrimination and Double Standards
By Anne Bayefsky
July 5, 2006

Human Rights Hypocrites Won't Criticize Terrorists
By Clifford D. May
June 30, 2006

The Gulag of Saud
By Michael I. Krauss and J. Peter Pham
June 28, 2006

Little Reason for Optimism on New Human Rights Council
By Patrick Goodenough
June 26, 2006

U.N.fit for Leadership
By Anne Bayefsky
May 22, 2006

Meet the New Human Rights Council
By Suzanne Gershowitz
May 22, 2006

The UN Fails Again
By Thomas Kilgannon
May 18, 2006

NGOs at the UN and EU
By NGO Monitor
May 16, 2006

Human-Rights Redux
By Brett D. Schaefer
May 11, 2006

UN Rights Forum Includes 'Some of the World's Worst Abusers'
By Patrick Goodenough
May 10, 2006

Cuba, China Hope for Less 'Politicization' on UN Rights Body
By Patrick Goodenough
May 9, 2006

Qaddafi's Good Friend at the U.N.
By Joshua Muravchik
May 9, 2006

Grim Outlook for Makeup of New UN Rights Council
By Patrick Goodenough
May 4, 2006

UN Rights Expert Has Controversial Track Record
By Patrick Goodenough
April 26, 2006

Now Saudi Arabia Wants Seat on UN Rights Body
By Patrick Goodenough
April 25, 2006

"Human Rights' Groups Such as Amnesty International Are Part of the Problem, Not the Solution"
By Israel Kasnett
April 25, 2006

Another U.N. "Reform"
By Anne Bayefsky
April 17, 2006

Who Runs the State Department?
By Bob Novak
April 10, 2006

They Deserve Each Other
By Joseph Klein
April 10, 2006

Cuba Declares Its Candidacy for UN Human Rights Body
By Patrick Goodenough
April 6, 2006

Bolton: U.S. Will Pass on U.N. Rights Council
NewsMax.com
April 6, 2006

Iran Seeks Seat on UN's New-Look Human Rights Body
By Patrick Goodenough
April 5, 2006

U.S. Shouldn't Back New Plan for U.N. Human Rights Panel
By Edwin J. Feulner
March 30, 2006

Another UN Charade
By Joseph Loconte and Dr. Nile Gardiner
March 27, 2006

NGOs Call for Strengthened UN Human Rights Council
By NGO Monitor
March 23, 2006

Boltin’
By Anne Bayefsky
March 16, 2006

U.N. Approves New Human Rights Council
NewsMax
March 15, 2006

China Champions New UN Human Rights Council Model
By Patrick Goodenough
March 14, 2006

Dispute Over UN Rights Body Remains Unresolved
By Patrick Goodenough
March 6, 2006

Why Not the Best for the Human Rights Council?
By David A. Schwarz
March 1, 2006

UN, US on Collision Course over New Human Rights Body
By Patrick Goodenough
February 27, 2006

The U.N. Human Rights Council Is Not Enough: Time for a New Approach to Human Rights
By Brett D. Schaefer
February 8, 2006

Relativism and Rights
By Joseph Loconte
February 2, 2006

 


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  • Human rights watchdog agency that replaced UN Commission on Human Rights in 2006



On March 15, 2006, one hundred seventy United Nations member states agreed to establish a new Human Rights Council to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) which had fallen under the sway of human-rights abusers that became members solely to prevent the Commission from taking effective action against them. Six of the 53 UNCHR members—China, Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Ara­bia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe—were classified as some of the world's "worst of the worst" abusers of human rights by Freedom House in 2005. Moreover, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's Libya served as UNCHR Chair in 2003. In 2005, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan suggested that the Commission should be disbanded and replaced with a smaller Council that would stand as a "society of the committed." A year of intense negotiations resulted in the creation of the Human Rights Council, which held its inaugural election of 47 members on May 9, 2006, and its first meeting in Geneva on June 19.

Under the rules of the UNCHR, candidates for membership were nominated by regional groups and often rubber-stamped by the UN Economic and Social Council (UNESCO). By contrast, membership in the new Human Rights Council will be more difficult to secure, requiring an affirmative vote by at least 96 of the 191 members of the General Assembly. Moreover, members must pledge to uphold human rights standards, subject themselves to review of their human rights records during their term on the council, and cooperate fully with UN human rights investigators. They can also be suspended for gross violations; a two-thirds vote is required to remove a member from the Council.

The move to establish the new Council was adopted by a vote of 170 to 4. Only the United States, Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands dissented, arguing that the new rules did not go far enough in assuring that rights abusers would be barred from Council membership. The U.S. did, however, pledge to cooperate with efforts to strengthen the Council. 

According to Mark Lagon, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, the United States was unwilling "to settle for something that is just a change in name and schedule," but rather sought "to make sure the procedures for electing members and for disqualifying the most bloodthirsty regimes in the world are established so that we turn a page in the history of the Commission on Human Rights -- which has done much good but which has lost credibility by becoming a body of not just firefighters but arsonists."

"The Bush administration's disturbing human rights record would have complicated its [America's] candidacy this year," said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. "We hope that the U.S. will make a serious effort to address its own rights abuse so that it can be in a stronger position to present itself for election to the [C]ouncil next year." 

The 47 seats on the new Council are apportioned as follows: 13 seats to Africa; 13 seats to Asia and the Middle East; 8 seats to Latin America; 6 seats to Eastern Europe; and 7 seats to the combined grouping of West European countries and what the UN refers to as the "Others Group." The "Others Group" includes the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Thus the countries included in the categories of Africa, Asia and the Middle East together account for 55 percent of the Council seats while only 21 percent of all such countries were rated "free" in 2005, according to Freedom House.

Among the first nations to announce their candidacy for Council seats were China, Iran, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia.

President Obama announced, in 2009, that the U.S. would join the Council for the first time. In November 2010, the Council made headlines when it harshly berated America for its alleged discrimination against Muslims, its barbaric police practices, its use of torture against enemies abroad, and its religious intolerance.

 

 

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