20 March 2006 The outgoing United Nations Commission on Human Rights suspended its work for a further week today pending new directives after last week’s historic approval by the General Assembly of a stronger Human Rights Council to replace it.
Ambassador Manuel Rodriguez Cuadros of Peru, chairman of the panel’s 62nd session in Geneva, said he was awaiting a resolution from the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which would contain substantive elements for the form of the Commission's work.
As a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, the new Council has a higher status and greater accountability than the much criticized Commission, which meets yearly in Geneva. It will meet year round as opposed to the six-week annual session of the Commission, and its members will be elected by a majority of all 191 UN Members.
The Commission, which first suspended its work shortly after opening its 62nd session on 13 March, decided by consensus to continue the suspension until Monday, 27 March at 3 p.m.
“The establishment of the Council marked the consolidation of a system that should improve the capacity of the United Nations to protect human rights,” the Commission said in a statement.
“In that connection, the Council had a number of instruments and mechanisms that should allow for the effectiveness and legitimacy of the system to be channelled towards greater promotion and protection of human rights.”