US to Hold UN Human Rights Meeting After Deal With Russia
File photo of US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (REUTERS)
United Nations: US Ambassador Nikki Haley was determined to hold a Security Council meeting on the importance of human rights to international peace and security and it will happen on Tuesday but only after the US addressed objections from Russia, China and other council members.
As examples, she cited student protests against Syrian President Bashar Assad that sparked the six-year conflict, the self-immolation of a Tunisian fruit vendor who was harassed by police and not able to work that sparked nationwide demonstrations, and massive rights violations in North Korea.
He also argued that other UN bodies including the Geneva-based Human Rights Council and the General Assembly already deal with human rights. "Why are we taking everything to the Security Council? Then those bodies should be dismantled," Iliichev said.
Haley said the US wanted the debate on April 18, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefing. But it wasn't on the Security Council "program of work" for the month because that needs unanimous agreement of all 15 council members, which the US didn't have.
That set the stage for two weeks of behind the scenes discussions to see how the US could get a meeting.
The United States initially wanted the debate under a new agenda item for the council entitled "Human Rights and International Peace and Security" which would mean that item could be raised again and again in the council.
The US Mission circulated a "concept paper" saying this would give council members the opportunity to reflect on the way the council addresses human rights in its work "for the first time."
Since the late 1980s, the Security Council has focused on human rights issues as drivers in numerous situations, and it has authorised human rights experts and monitors for most of the UN peacekeeping and political missions it has authorised.
The council, however, has never had a so-called "thematic debate" on human rights related to the Security Council's main mission of promoting international peace and security.
In order for the US to get its new agenda item approved it would have had to hold a procedural vote at the start of Tuesday's meeting and get nine "yes" votes to go ahead.
But council diplomats said it appeared the US might have only eight "yes" votes and seven "no" votes -- Russia, China,
Egypt, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Khazakhstan and possibly Senegal.
So the United States agreed to a compromise.
security," with a focus on "human rights and prevention of armed conflict."
That means no procedural vote is required and all 15 council members are now on board with the debate.