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UN to Launch New Human Rights Council Monday


The United Nations new human rights body convenes Monday in Geneva, with widespread expectations it will prove more effective in enforcing human rights than its largely discredited predecessor organization.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who pushed for replacing the former human rights commission, is expected in Geneva to kick off the inaugural session of the new Human Rights Council.

The disbanded rights commission came under strong criticism, because countries with identifiably poor human rights records used their membership to protect one another from censure.

Monday's meeting of the new 47-member grouping is set to run from June 19 to June 30, and will largely focus on planning future work.

The United States did not run for a council seat. Washington voted against forming the new council, objecting to the presence of nations that it says abuse their citizens' human rights.

Under the council's new charter, any member found systematically violating human rights can be suspended from the council by a two-thirds vote in the U.N. General Assembly.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.