Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., welcomes agreement on establishment of United Nations Human Rights Council
“New Council will enhance the global machinery to promote and protect human rights around the world.” – Minister Ahern
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., today welcomed the decision to set up a new UN Human Rights Council.
UN Reform and Human Rights
“Today's vote by the UN General Assembly is the culmination of a long process of negotiation in which Ireland and the EU took an active role. It is also an important further step in the process of UN reform. I was particularly aware of the need for progress in the crucial area of Human Rights while serving as an Envoy of the UN Secretary General on UN reform last year.
I would like to pay tribute to the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Jan Eliasson, for his skill in chairing the negotiations and for bringing them to a successful conclusion.
“Last September, the world's leaders agreed to create stronger, more effective global human rights machinery. Today's vote is a major step towards fulfilling that commitment. The new Council represents a significant improvement in the promotion and protection of human rights around the world. In particular the Council will have the capacity to meet regularly throughout the year. It will also be given the power to carry out periodic reviews of all states on their human rights records.”
The Minister added:
“While the agreement in New York is not perfect, it represents significant progress in the right direction. Of course, there were areas where the proposals could have gone further, for instance in relation to making it harder for those with poor human rights records to be elected to the new Council. For this reason, Ireland and its EU partners have made a clear commitment not to vote for any states which are the subject of sanctions by the UN for human rights breaches.
“However, the proposals represent the best deal possible in the circumstances and have been endorsed by the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and by most major human rights NGOs.”
Ireland's Full Support
Minister Ahern said:
“I very much look forward to the first session of the new Human Rights Council in June 2006 and I pledge Ireland's full support to the Council and its work. I hope that it will enjoy the broadest possible support in its new mission.
“I would also like to acknowledge the achievements of the Commission on Human Rights, which the new Council will replace and pay tribute to the work of the Commission since its establishment some 60 years ago.”
15th March 2006