Campaigners seek more reactive UN rights council

GENEVA, September 12, 2010 (AFP) – Five years after the Human Rights Council was set up, the United States, once among its biggest critics, has now confirmed its full engagement in the UN body.

She acknowledged that there are still many critics who “are still arguing that the US should not have joined in the first place and that we should pack up and go home now.”

“I personally disagree with this idea. I believe very deeply that if the United States is not at the table, there will be a vacuum of leadership that will get filled by a group of others with whom we disagree,” she said.

“I believe if the United States wants to lead on human rights, we have to show up and that is what we are here to do.”

Amnesty International’s Peter Splinter said it was “welcomed that a country with such a long history in human rights work has finally come back and committed itself to making the council work”.

But while the council has managed to win the participation of the United States, campaigers say the UN body still has key issues to tackle when it embarks on a required review of its work and functioning in October.

To describe how the council is hamstrung in dealing with immediate