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UN Human Rights commissioner sees need for more emphasis on implementation

UN Human Rights commissioner sees need for more emphasis on implementation

Louise Arbour briefs journalists
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said today that the creation of a human rights council was critical to advancing the cause, especially in view of the international community's poor record when it came to implementing its established standards.

"On the implementation side the commission has performed extremely poorly, leading to a perception of using double standards and being very politically driven…I believe that this perception can only be properly addressed by a fundamental change in attitude that can only be triggered by a profound institutional change," the High Commissioner said.

Speaking to reporters during a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, Ms. Arbour also said that she has held discussions during her stay in New York with various stakeholders concerning the launching of a human rights council, hopefully at the time of the September summit.

"All the great human rights instruments that we have originated are the work of this commission. In recent years though I think the importance has shifted from this normative mission to a mission of implementing the norms that we have that are very well understood, virtually universally accepted, but extremely poorly implemented," Ms. Arbour said.

Separately Ms. Arbour said she was encouraged by the attention that that events in Zimbabwe had received since the release of a report by the Secretary-General's special envoy and she believed that this would galvanize international interest on many fronts including with regard to the plight of some 700,000 people who have been forcibly evicted from their homes in that country.

Last week UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka, following a two-week visit to Zimbabwe, issued a report which called on the Government to stop the demolition of homes and markets, pay reparations to those who lost housing and livelihoods and punish those who, "with indifference to human suffering," carried out the evictions.

"I hope it will also bring home to the government the necessity to desist from this extremely misguided operation," Ms. Arbour also said.