Home | News    Wednesday 31 August 2005

U.S. Tries to Exclude Some From U.N. Group

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By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer.

Aug 31, 2005 (Washington) — The Bush administration is trying to exclude seven nations from a new U.N. human rights council, saying their own records make them unfit to sit in judgment of others.

In a reform proposal, Sudan, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda would not be eligible to serve on a revised human rights council.

The seven countries are subject to sanctions by the U.N. Security Council for human rights abuses and the United States wants to keep "some of the worst offenders off," Kristen Silverberg, assistant secretary of state for International Organizations said Wednesday.

Forming a new human rights council to replace the "discredited" Human Rights Commission is an important part of the U.S. agenda for reform of the United Nations, she said.

Besides excluding the seven nations, the United States is proposing that appointments to a new council have the support of at least two-thirds of the members of the U.N. General Assembly.

That would be helpful in keeping some of the worst offenders off, Silverberg said.

Other nations that also seek reform have other approaches, and all will be discussed by U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and other nations’ U.N. representatives, she said.

"We feel very good about our agenda and on progress we are making in persuading other member-states," Silverberg said.

"There is a lot of support in the U.N. for this kind of thing," she told reporters.

Reform is a key item on the agenda of the U.N. General Assembly session. President Bush is expected to touch on the problem in the annual presidential speech Sept. 14 and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will spend more than a week in New York holding talks on human rights and other issues.

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