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U.N.: New Human Rights Members Won't Solve Crisis

U.S. Regains Seat on Human Rights Commission

(New York) - The election of new members to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights will likely deepen the crisis in which that body finds itself, Human Rights Watch said today.

Today the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations elected new members, of which 6 already held a seat on the Human Rights Commission, and 9 were new members, including the United States. Other new members included Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and Australia.

"The commission has a growing number of countries with very poor human rights records," said Joanna Weschler, United Nations representative for Human Rights Watch. "We're dealing with abusers' solidarity here."

Weschler said the reinstatement of the United States would not have an effect on the current crisis unless Washington decides to fight actively to restore the commission's core functions of investigating and publicizing human rights abuse. Had the United States been a member of the commission during its just-concluded annual session in Geneva, Weschler said, no single vote would have had a different outcome.

"The United States has to help get the commission back into the business of naming and shaming," said Weschler. "Otherwise, whether the United States is a member or not, the commission is going to sink into irrelevance."

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