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The 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights

Human Rights Watch's Concerns

With a membership that includes governments responsible for crimes against humanity, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights meeting in Geneva must take dramatic steps to restore its sinking credibility.

Sudan, which was re-elected to the Commission last year, was recently found responsible by the Security Council-created Commission of Inquiry on Darfur for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that likely “constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

To remain relevant, the United Nations’ top rights body must aggressively expose and respond to human rights abuses worldwide.

The Commission on Human Rights itself has come under attack by the U.N.’s High-level Panel on Threats, which noted its “eroding credibility and professionalism.”

Only by reclaiming its role of exposing governments that systematically abuse human rights, and establishing measures to redress those situations, can the Commission re-establish its relevance.

The adoption of critical resolutions on several of the world’s most severe human rights crises would signal the return to the Commission’s most fundamental focus: the protection of human rights around the world. Another step toward restoring the Commission’s credibility would be ridding its membership of the worst violators of human rights. Human Rights Watch called on member states of the United Nations to deny a seat on the Commission to countries with the worst human rights records and to insist that states seeking Commission membership make positive commitments to human rights.

Previous Briefings:

Recommendations for Reform
Briefing to the 60th Session (2004)
Briefing to the 59th Session (2003)
Briefing to the 58th Session (2002)

Full Briefing:

Letter Sent to Commission Members

Public Statements:

Ministerial Meeting in Canada Should Back Annan Reforms
Corporate Accountability and Human Rights
The Human Rights Responsibilities of Business
Selecting a Special Representative on Business and Human Rights
Afghanistan: U.N. Rights Monitoring Still Needed
Will South Africa Speak out on Darfur Today?
Joint NGO Statement on U.N. Reform
U.N. Rights Body Ignores Major Abuses
Back Annan's Call for a New Human Rights Body
Guantánamo: Give U.N. Monitors Access to Detainees
Statement on Darfur
Statement on Colombia
Statement on Civil and Political Rights
Statement on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism
Nepal Human Rights Crisis Continues
U.N. Rights Body Must Fight to Restore Credibility
L’organisme des droits de l’homme de l’ONU doit lutter pour rétablir sa crédibilité

Themes:

Business and Human Rights
Counter-Terrorism
Sexual Orientation

Countries and Regions:

Afghanistan
African Great Lakes
Belarus
China
Colombia
Cuba
Iran
Iraq
Israel/Occupied Territories
Nepal
Russian Federation/Chechnya
Sudan
Turkmenistan
United States
Uzbekistan

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