Global Policy Forum

All Countries Must Use Important Report

Amnesty International
December 1, 2004

Amnesty International welcomes the emphasis which the report of the High-level Panel (HLP), places on the central role of the United Nations(UN) to protect human rights when dealing with global threats and challenges. All states should take note of the Panel's pertinent observation that the 2% which the UN Budget allocates to its human rights program contradicts the UN Charter's recognition that human rights are a principal purpose of the UN. "We urge all countries to seriously review the grossly under-funded Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as the Panel recommends" Amnesty International said.

Specifically, Amnesty International welcomes the Panel's support for the persistent efforts by the UN Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to integrate human rights throughout the UN and to help develop strong domestic human rights institutions, especially in countries that emerge from conflict and in the fight against terrorism. "We urge all governments, when considering the many recommendations made by the Panel, to ensure that the protection of human rights is central to their deliberations and that the views of civil society on the human rights aspects of this important report are fully taken into account" Yvonne Terlingen, Amnesty International's Representative at the UN, said. "The Security Council should also immediately implement the Panel's recommendation that the High Commissioner for Human Rights report regularly to the Council about how the human rights provisions in its resolutions are being implemented" she added.

Amnesty International is pleased that the Panel has focused on the UN Commission on Human Rights' task to promote and protect human rights and its use of double standards in dealing with human rights violations. The HLP has addressed openly what has long been known but rarely acknowledged about the serious shortcomings of the Commission. Many of its members lack commitment to human rights, lack expertise, and refuse to address grave violations. "Now that these concerns are in the open, we urge all member states to seriously consider the Panel's proposals on Commission reform, including those that seek to enhance the human rights expertise on their own delegations to the Commission" Amnesty International said.

The organization endorses the need for a global strategy to fight terrorism that addresses its root causes and strengthens the rule of law and fundamental human rights. As the report says, there should be better instruments for global counter-terrorism cooperation within legal frameworks that respect civil liberties and human rights. Any definition of terrorism such as proposed by the HLP should exclude broad language that lends itself to abuse like that unfortunately incorporated in Security Council resolution 1566.

Amnesty international also welcomes the HLP's focus on the need to review the manner in which individuals and organizations are put on lists dealing with sanctions and Al-Qaida and the Taliban to avoid the lack of accountability and potential for human rights violations inherent in current procedures used by the Security Council. "We hope that the publication of the report will prompt the Security Council to conduct a long-overdue review to ensure that basic legal safeguards apply in future to the procedures used by these UN bodies in listing individuals and institutions" Amnesty International said.

The Panel's recommendation that any sanctions regimes - including arms embargoes - imposed by the Security Council must routinely establish monitoring mechanisms with the capacity to carry out in-depth investigations addresses a key concern of the organization about the ineffectiveness of some of the sanctions regimes put in place by the Security Council. It should be immediately implemented.

Amnesty International looks forward to participating in future discussions on the many recommendations made in the report and urges all concerned to ensure that human rights will be central to that debate.

More Information on UN Reform
More Information Reform of the Human Rights Commission
More Information on High-Level Panels
More Information on UN Reform Initiatives


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.