U.N. Ignores U.S., Approves Council 170-4
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer 21
UNITED NATIONS - U.N. member states ignored U.S.
opposition and overwhelmingly approved a new Human
Rights Council on Wednesday, attempting to strengthen
the world body's machinery to deal with major human
The vote in the 191-member General Assembly was 170 in
favor, 4 against, and 3 abstentions.
The Bush administration refused to back the new
council, saying it was not the radical reform
Washington wanted to ensure that countries like Cuba,
Sudan, Myanmar and Zimbabwe known as rights abusers
are barred from membership.
But U.S. officials said Washington nonetheless will
give its financial backing and seek a seat on the new
A year ago, Secretary-General
Kofi Annan proposed replacing the widely criticized
and highly politicized U.N. Human Rights Commission,
which has allowed some of the worst-offending
countries to use their membership to protect one
another from condemnation or to criticize others.
Under the resolution adopted Wednesday, the commission
will be abolished June 16 and the new council will
convene three days later.
The resolution was drafted by General Assembly
President Jan Eliasson after months of contentious
negotiations. He said it did not give any country
everything it wanted but would strengthen human rights
protections and toughen the criteria for council membership.