Political Consensus Urgent to Protect Human Rights: UN

A view of journalists covering the opening of the twenty-eighth session the Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
A view of journalists covering the opening of the twenty-eighth session the Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The United Nations (UN) has the mandates and tools it needs to prevent human rights violations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told delegations gathered in Geneva Monday for the opening of the current session of the world body’s Human Rights Council.

He warned that the biggest challenge to using these tools is lack of political consensus among Member States.

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“I appeal to the Human Rights Council to unite behind early, practical steps to support national actors in promoting and protecting human rights. Early action on human rights helps to strengthen national sovereignty, rather than challenge or resist it,” Mr. Ban said via video message at the opening of the three-day High-Level Segment of the 47-member body’s 28th session.

Also addressing the Council for the first time since taking his post last year, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the world must be “completely principled and cunning in its collective attempt to defang” violent extremists.

As an inter-governmental body within the UN, the Council is responsible for strengthening the protection of human rights worldwide and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

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