US Ambassador John Bolton has been holding up agreement on the proposed Human Rights Council, despite the endorsement of the EU, several prominent human rights groups, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. As a result, yesterday the the Commission on Human Rights decided to suspend their final session by a week to give the negotiators in New York time to hammer out a deal. The last Commission on Human Rights was supposed to have begun yesterday and run until April. But without a clear indication of whether or not the body will be subsumed by the new Human Rights Council, it doesn’t make much sense for them to gather.
This is a pretty extraordinary deadlock in negotiations, which threatens Kofi Annan’s legacy as a UN reformist. We’ll have to see if one more week of negotiations loosens anyone’s positions.