We’ll see which governments were naughty and nice pretty soon.
Jan Elliason, the current President of the General Assembly, is cracking the whip on government delegations to get them to finish their work on several UN reform issues before the end of the year. In a December 5 letter to all UN Missions, Elliason urged all government delegations to do their best to complete negotiations on several important issues on the General Assembly’s agenda, namely the Peacebuilding Commission, the Human Rights Council and secretariat reform.
In his attached work schedule, he has planned for meetings right up until Friday December 23 in the afternoon. Presumably he won’t be such a scrooge to make them work on Christmas Eve.
Negotiations on the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council have been difficult going, according to Seher Khawaja of ReformtheUN.org. In particular, he reports that several governments are supporting a Human Rights Council that is as weak or even weaker than the current Commission on Human Rights. Seher observes that
Specific provisions of concern that have been suggested include the removal of country-specific resolutions and GA approval of many of the Council’s decisions prior to implementation. There has been significant opposition to more legitimate election procedures that would ensure more candidates than seats as well as a provision to ensure members’ agree to basic commitments to abide by the highest standards in the protection and promotion of human rights.
For governments to go to all the trouble to create a new human rights body and make it as powerless and corrupt as the existing one doesn’t help the UN’s credibility problem at all. Hopefully those pushing for a strong and effective Human Rights Council will prevail.