A Project of the American Enterprise Institute and the Federalist Society

Human Rights Council Darfur Resolution Falls Short

UN Watch

December 13, 2006

UN Watch today expressed its disappointment at the weak resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at the close of its special session on Darfur, Sudan. The resolution merely expresses "concern regarding the seriousness of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur," urges all parties to sign and implement the Darfur Peace Agreement, and "welcomes" the Sudanese government's "cooperation."

In a statement delivered on behalf of 31 NGOs at the session, UN Watch had urged the Council to adopt a strong resolution holding the government of Sudan to its obligation to protect the people of Darfur and insisting that it accept the UN peacekeeping force mandated by the Security Council last August, which Khartoum has repeatedly refused.

"Today's resolution not only does not condemn the government of Sudan, or any other party to the Darfur conflict, for the ongoing, egregious human rights violations there, it does not even include the word 'violation,' " said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer. "This soft approach confirms the double standard in the Council's work: Israel is repeatedly and harshly condemned, while other countries are treated with kid gloves." Israel is the only country that the Council has censured for human rights violations in its six months of existence. To date, the Council has passed eight condemnatory resolutions and held three special sessions against the Jewish state.

The immediate result of today's resolution will be the dispatch of an assessment mission to Darfur but, according to Neuer, "any concrete Council action to try to improve the situation there is still a long way off." The mission was deemed necessary because Sudan and its allies in the Council have insisted that widespread reports of the dire crisis in Darfur -by UN officials, humanitarian and human rights organizations, and the media- are "exaggerated" and based on "misinformation."

The mission will consist of "five highly qualified persons to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council following consultation with the members of the Council," as well as the Council's independent expert ("special rapporteur") on Sudan. "Although it remains to be seen who will be chosen, this compromise seems better than the African Group's initial proposal that the mission should be carried out by Human Rights Council members themselves," commented Neuer.

The joint NGO statement also expresed its hope that today's special session "is just the beginning of the Council's active engagement, not only on Darfur, but on all major human rights crises worldwide." The Council's obsessive focus on Israel, at the expense of the world's worst human rights crises, has been widely criticized, not only by human rights groups, but also by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. At the Council's last session, UN Watch urged the body to turn its attention to 19 of the world's most egregious situations, including those of Burma, Cuba, North Korea, and Zimbabwe.

FAIR USE NOTICE. This document may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. NGOWatch is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of NGO accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.