Human Rights Council opens today

Today, the new Human Rights Council begins operation in Geneva. The new HRC has been held up as an example of reform. However, Human Rights Watch sent a warning on Friday demanding "No Business as Usual".

The new HRC has been held up as an example of reform, and, indeed, there have been a number of important improvements.

There have already been some changes. South Korean candidate Ban Ki-moon has said that North Korea needs to begin to address its human rights record. As the article points out:

The remarks by Ban, who is eyeing the top UN post, represent a departure for South Korea by singling out the North without lumping it with other offenders like Burma. South Korea has been criticized for its passivity over human rights abuses in the Stalinist country on the international stage.

"The government has made progress in its position on the issue by taking issue with North Korea’s human rights record at a global event,” a government official said. South Korea has been absent or abstained since 2003 whenever the UN adopted resolutions on North Korea’s human rights violations.

As previous posts have pointed out (here, here, and here), we are concerned about North Korea and Human rights. If a resolution comes up on Uzbekistan or Egypt, who have also endorsed Ban Ki-moon, will he support challenging their records?

Sri Lanka, India, and South Korea are on the Council. It will be interesting to see how these countries vote over the next several months.

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