[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] on Monday called on the 47 member states of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website; JURIST news archive] to "create an environment of trust" and "spur greater accountability for action on human rights." In his speech [text] at the opening of the Council's seventh session [materials] in Geneva, Ban emphasized the importance of accountability and transparency as the Council commences its first performance review of the human rights of all UN member states. Ban called for equal scrutiny of all countries:
Almost two years have now passed since this Council was inaugurated. You have clearly set its direction on the right track in establishing your mechanisms and procedures.Reuters has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.
The question for the Council, however, is whether you are fully meeting the high expectations which the international community has of you. What are those expectations? Most fundamentally, and in line with the very core jurisprudence of human rights, they are that this Council will recognize and promote the universal application of human rights values - and that it will do so without favor, without selectivity, without being impacted by any political machinations around the world.
If you meet this benchmark, you can count on my fullest support and defence in the face of criticisms and attacks, wherever they may come from.
The UNHRC was established in 2006 to replace [JURIST report] the UN Human Rights Commission [official website], which was often criticized for allowing states with poor human rights records to become members.