10 May 2006

Secretary-General Says New Human Rights Council Offers UN Unique Opportunity for Fresh Start in Vital Human Rights Work

NEW YORK, 9 May (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General welcomes today's election of the first Member States to sit on the Human Rights Council, and particularly the high rate of participation in this election by Member States.  He believes that this demonstrates a widely shared commitment to replace the previous Commission on Human Rights with a body that can work more effectively, and can embody human rights ideals with more credibility; and that the Council elected today offers the United Nations a unique opportunity to make a fresh start in its vital work of upholding the highest standards of human rights.

In particular the new Council, which will start work on 19 June, is required to conduct a regular review of the human rights record of all countries, beginning with its own members.  This will give its members the chance to show the depth of their commitment to promote human rights both at home and abroad.

The Secretary-General wishes the new members well as they begin their work to fulfil mankind's age-old aspiration to live in a world where every human right is fully enjoyed by every human being.

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