Minister of State Treacy addresses inaugural session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
“Council must confront real and practical human rights challenges the world faces today” - Treacy
Mr.Noel Treacy T.D., Minister of State has called for the new UN Human Rights Council to make itself relevant, by confronting the very real and practical human rights challenges which the world faces, today.
Speaking in Geneva today at the inaugural session of the Council, Minister Treacy said that there should be a decisive shift now, to the effective implementation of the standards, elaborated by the Council's predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights.
Minister Treacy also highlighted the compelling need for a strong body;
“Some 300,000 Children are actively involved in armed conflict. Last year, between 600,000 and 800,000 People were trafficked across international borders. The number of People infected by HIV/AIDS worldwide, has reached about 40 million.”
Minister Treacy called for “a positive and constructive environment in the Council” but noted that when international human rights are being neglected or wilfully violated, the Council should be frank in addressing this.
He also called for the new Council to preserve the best aspects of the Commission on Human Rights, in particular by engaging actively with civil society on human rights issues.
20 June 2006
Note for Editors
The inaugural session of the UN Human Rights Council is taking place from 19 to 30 June in Geneva. The opening ceremony was held on 19 June and was addressed by the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour.
The opening ceremony will be followed by a High-Level Segment during which Ministers from around the world will address the Council on their vision for its future. Minister of State Treacy will represent Ireland at the High Level Segment.
At the UN World Summit in September 2005, it was decided to establish a Human Rights Council to replace the Commission on Human Rights. Elections to the 47-member body took place in May 2006. The Human Rights Council replaces the Commission on Human Rights, which had previously been the key UN Human Rights forum. Ireland, along with other EU Member States, took an active role in the negotiations leading up to the establishment of the Council. Ireland argued successfully that the Council must engage actively with civil society on Human Rights issues.
The new Council, which will meet in Geneva for a number of sessions during the year, has elected Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico as its first Chair. The Council will periodically review the human rights record of all members of the UN. Members of the Council may be expelled from the Council by a 2/3 majority vote if they are responsible for gross and systematic abuse of human rights.
20 June 2006