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UN: Human Rights Council

Volume 691: debated on Thursday 26 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the performance of the United Nations Human Rights Council over the first nine months since it was set up; and whether they have sought an explanation of why thus far it has criticised only one state for human rights violations. [HL3180]

We continue to have ambitious goals for the new UN Human Rights Council. It has taken some encouraging steps. For example, it has begun to address the situation in Darfur, most recently through a consensus resolution adopted on 30 March to follow up on recommendations made by the council's high-level assessment mission for Darfur. We were, however, disappointed by a disproportionate and unbalanced focus in the council's early months on the situation in the Middle East, while other situations were comparatively neglected. Negotiations on the council's future tools and mechanisms are due to be completed in June 2007. Their results will be key to the council's long-term potential.

Over the past nine months, the council has held four special sessions devoted to country situations: three on the Middle East and one on Sudan. In addition to resolutions passed on the Middle East, it has also adopted three resolutions on Darfur and two decisions on Nepal and Afghanistan.