Jan Eliasson

New Human Rights Council

The 191-member UN General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution setting up a new reformed human rights body, despite strong opposition from the United States and three of its allies.

The new rights body is designed to be more effective and to replace the current, Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission, which has seen its credibility tarnished by the presence among its 53 members of notorious human rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden shepherded the hard-nosed negotiations for the new body and cited, ”a number of innovative elements which would make the Council a significant improvement” over the current body.

These, he noted, include subjecting council members to peer group pressure, tightening membership criteria and suspending members whose human rights records were deemed unacceptable.

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