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United Nations24.07.2003

Reporters Without Borders suspended for one year from UN commission on human rights
The organisation publishes a report on the commission’s accelerating decline, entitled Wheeling and dealing, incompetence and "non-action," in which it recommends a radical overhaul

Reporters Without Borders’s consultative status with the United Nations commission on human rights has been suspended for one year on Cuba’s initiative. The organisation condemns this "unfair decision" and proposes a radical overhaul of the commission in a report entitled Wheeling and dealing, incompetence and "non-action."

Reporters Without Borders’s consultative status with the United Nations commission on human rights was suspended on July 24 for one year at the request of Libya and Cuba because activists with the organisation staged a protest during the inauguration of the commission’s last session in March against the decision to let Libya chair the commission.

Reporters Without Borders insists that granting the chair to Col. Gaddafi’s regime has been a disgrace to the commission.

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the body that took this decision, never invited Reporters Without Borders to explain its action. The failure to respect sanction procedures has been criticised by the French government, which lodged a request for a postponement of any decision to suspend the organisation. This suspension of one of the few press freedom organisations to have consultative status with ECOSOC is farce of the kind that increasingly characterizes the commission on human rights.

Reporters Without Borders today publishes a report which details the excesses, shortcomings and accelerating decline of this commission, which dictatorships such as Cuba and China have taken over in order to strip it of all substance.

The reports proposes a series of reforms that are essential if the commission is to be rescued: limiting the right to vote to those states that have ratified the main international human rights covenants, naming an independent human rights expert to chair the commission, and abolishing the so-called "non-action" motions that have repeatedly been used to block debates.

The results of the vote on the suspension of the consultative status of Reporters without borders:

In favour (27): Azerbaijan, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Against (23): Andorra, Australia, Chile, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States.

Abstentions (4): Argentina, Ecuador, Japan, and Senegal.

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