United Nations Creates New Human Rights Council
Sunday, March 19, 2006 6:55 PM

After months of intense negotiations, the United Nations General Assembly voted 170 to 4 to create a new human rights body, the Human Rights Council. The body will have different voting rights associated with membership, improved geographical representation, more meetings and will be directly linked to the General Assembly as a subsidiary body. A Member State can be voted onto the Human Rights Council with a two-thirds majority vote, the same vote that can remove a country that is engaged in gross and systematic human rights violations. The first elections to the council will be on May 9th, with the first session planned for the 19th of June. There will be 47 members on the council.

The United States was one of the four states that voted against the creation of this new human rights body on the grounds that the new institution falls short of its high standards. The U.S. claims that it supports the body’s overall mission and, once created, the U.S. is prepared to fund and possible join the new Human Rights Council.

Compiled from:In ‘historic’ vote, General Assembly creates new UN Human Rights Council,” UN News Center, 15 March 2006; “U.N. Rights Council Gets U.S. Support- Backing Comes Despite Skepticism” Colum Lynch, washingtonpost.com, 15 March 2006.