UN rights body’s ‘think tank’ kicks off inaugural session

4 August 2008

A new body serving as a “think tank” to provide advice and conduct research for the United Nations Human Rights Council began its first-ever session today in Geneva.

The 18-member panel, which will meet twice a year, is tasked with supplying its expertise on the promotion and protection of all human rights. While it cannot adopt resolutions or decisions, it can provide suggestions to the Council.

The Committee replaces the former Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and its membership is subject to a predetermined geographical distribution, with five members each from Africa and Asia; three from Latin America and the Caribbean, three from Western European and other States; and two from Eastern Europe.

The body’s members will serve for a three-year terms and can be re-elected once.

Addressing the opening session today, Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-Wha Kang said that the beginning of the Committee’s work is a key moment for the international community and that all sides – the Council, victims of human rights violations and others – have high hopes for it.

Council President Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi stressed that the Committee must work as an independent expert body, voicing hope that it would provide an objective point of view.

Miguel Alfonso Martinez of Cuba was elected as the Committee’s Chairperson, and its current session will run through 15 August.


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