UN's human rights reform 'big step': Chirac

21st March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 20, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Monday welcomed as a "big step" a reform of the discredited United Nations Human Rights Commission, due to be replaced later this year.

PARIS, March 20, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Monday welcomed as a "big step" a reform of the discredited United Nations Human Rights Commission, due to be replaced later this year.

In the new Human Rights Council, France will push for an abolition of the death penalty and a ban of torture, Chirac said in a letter to the president of the UN General Assembly, Jan Eliasson, which was released by the French leader's office.

The General Assembly last week overwhelmingly adopted a resolution setting up the new, reformed body, despite strong opposition from the United States backed by three of its allies.

Chirac said the vote was a "big step" for which Eliasson, a Swede, deserved credit as he had played a "key role" in bringing about the reform.

France will continue to work in the new council "for the abolition of the death penalty, a ban on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments," he said.

He also pledged to support a convention on forced disappearances to honor the memory of people who disappeared in conflicts and under dictatorships and on the protection of all those who defend human rights.

Eliasson on Monday exhorted Washington to support the work of the new Council despite Washington's vote against its creation last week.

The United States voted against on the grounds that it would be too easy for countries which abuse human rights to be elected to the council.

One of the new stipulations for the council, he noted, was that "every country that gets on the Council of Human Rights must have its human rights record reviewed."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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