Geneva: (Agencies-3/3/2008) – The Human Rights Council must create an environment of trust if it is to fulfill its true promise of tacking human rights abuses, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday. He was speaking as the 47-strong member council, which was established by the UN in March 2006 to replace its Commission on Human Rights, convened its seventh regular session in Geneva.
"Let us be clear: implementing international obligations entails difficult, focused, sustained and often thankless work. But it is not hopeless. We now have wide and increasing acceptance of human rights standards," Ban said.
The situation in the Palestinian territories, the crisis Sudan’s western Darfur region, and Myanmar are all due to come under the spotlight during the four-week session.
The council will also begin scrutinizing the human rights records of all 192 UN member states through the innovative Universal Periodic Review process.
Ban said the new mechanism was an essential tool to aid transparency: "It must help prevent the distrust that surrounded the work of the Commission on Human Rights in its final years."
He urged the council to foster a climate where best practices thrive and to spur greater accountability for action on human rights.
"This is a pivotal year in the cause of human rights around the world, as we seek to strengthen the work of this council while marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," he said.