IWTC Women's GlobalNet #300

Activities and Initiatives of Women Worldwide


April 3, 2006


UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS CLOSES DOWN FOR GOOD. A NEW HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL TO BE ESTABLISHED

The UN Commission on Human Rights concluded its 60 years of work in a three-hour session on
27 March, 2006, at its UN Geneva headquarters. The HRC Expanded Bureau decided that there would only be one NGO statement permitted. Here is that statement.


NGO STATEMENT TO THE FINAL SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

This statement is made on behalf of hundreds of non-governmental
organizations (NGOs). It cannot be made on behalf of all NGOs because we have no authority to do so.

During the 60 years of the Commission on Human Rights, non-governmental organisations have played, in the words of the UN General Assembly, an important role at the national, regional and international levels, in the promotion and protection of human rights. Unfortunately the arrangement made for their participation in the final session of the Commission through a single statement does not allow this important role to be reflected.

Non-governmental organisations are very diverse, reflecting the variety
and multiplicity of human experiences. They have brought to the
Commission the voices of the voiceless and of victims of violations
throughout the world. That diversity and those voices cannot be
encapsulated in a single statement. With disappointment and a sense of
loss, we note that they are missing from the final session of the
Commission.

We have decided therefore not to make a single non-governmental
statement to assess the work of the Commission. We cannot accept that
this is an appropriate way to proceed now. We look forward positively to the establishment of the Human Rights Council. We remind all States of the terms of the recent General Assembly resolution, which committed the future Human Rights Council to ensuring the most effective contribution of non-governmental organizations to its work based on arrangements and practices observed by the Commission.

We invite all here today to join us in standing and observing a moment
of silence for those who have suffered human rights violations during
the life of this Commission, to mark with dignity its closing 62nd
Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

For further information, please contact: Conference of NGOs in
Consultative Relations with the United Nations (CONGO); Post: CP 50,
1211
Geneva 20, Switzerland. Tel: +41-22/301-1000. Fax: +41-22/301-2000.
Web: <http://www.ngocongo.org>

WILPF STATEMENT TO CLOSING SESSION OF UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS:
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations, also submitted a statement. The following is an abbreviated version. For the full statement, please contact WILPF statement.

Having followed the work of the Commission on Human Rights since its establishment, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom wishes to pay tribute to the Commission's remarkable achievements.

Few, if any, United Nations organs can point to a more successful record in responding to people's concerns. By setting international norms - developing and spearheading declarations, covenants and conventions - the Commission has provided a basis for promoting and protecting human rights everywhere. The Commission has established special procedures and technical services to assist in the implementation by governments of these norms. Therefore, the achievements of this body should not go unrecognized in this last session.

We acknowledge that the work of the Commission will be transferred to
the Human Rights Council. It is hoped that the complaints of
"politicization" that have plagued the UN Commission on Human Rights will effectively be addressed. However, we wish to note that it is the behavior of the governments and their unwillingness to strengthen the Commission that has hurt its credibility and not the actions of the
Commission itself.

We trust that this last Session of the Commission will be seen as a
historical chance to mark a difference in the lives of millions who
depend upon the work of the Commission, rather than a procedural
manoeuvre to let the Commission wither and dissolve.

For further information, please contact: WILPF International, 1, rue de Varembe, Case Postale 28, 1211 Geneva 20. Switzerland. Tel:
+41-22/919-7080, Fax: +41-22/919-7081. Email: <inforequest@wilpf.ch>


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