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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 27th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Monday March 26, 2007, the Human Rights Council of the UN   decided to end scrutiny               of – Iran, Uzbekistan.

GENEVA, March 26 based on a report from Reuters: – “The United Nations top human rights body voted on Monday to end routine scrutiny of Iran and Uzbekistan despite accusations of abuse in both countries. The 47-state Human Rights Council accepted the recommendation of a five-country working party, whose members included Zimbabwe, that they be removed from the so-called 1503 procedure under which accusations of violations are discussed in closed-door, confidential sessions.”

The decision had been widely expected because a majority of states on the Council, launched last year to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission, oppose the singling out of individual states for special attention. So – this is how goes out the window the much touted – supposedly most important innovation – in the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s UN Reform.

“We are very disappointed at the decision. We think that it is deeply regrettable that the Council will not have the opportunity to consider the human rights situation in those countries,” a U.S. spokesperson said. “This decision is completely out of step with the view expressed by the (U.N.) General Assembly which only a few months ago voted again to condemn human rights violations in Iran,” she added.

The United States has declined to stand for election to the Council because it says the Geneva-based body lacks credibility.

Before taking the decision, the Council had heard accusations from individuals and groups alleging continuing arbitrary executions, judicial failings and the use of torture in Iranian jails, diplomats said.

According to human rights sources, European Union states on the Council voted in favour of maintaining monitoring of Iran, but Switzerland, Brazil, Japan and South Korea were amongst Council members to abstain in the secret vote.    

SWITZERLAND, BRAZIL, JAPAN, KOREA ??

The United States and European Union criticised Uzbekistan – the former Soviet state – for using indiscriminate force to quash protests in the town of Andizhan in May 2005, killing hundreds.     Uzbekistan has said the Andizhan violence was organised by Islamist rebels. Human rights groups, including the New York-based Human Rights Watch, had said that ending monitoring of Uzbekistan would amount to the sanctioning of abuses.

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