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Calmy-Rey says Human Rights Council needs work

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey says the United Nations Human Rights Council needs to become more effective with universal respect for independent rapporteurs.

“Too many states do not respond to requests for rapporteurs to visit,” she said. “What is even more worrying is that rapporteurs are increasingly the subject of virulent attacks when their reports are considered displeasing.”

Calmy-Rey spoke at the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday as part of a ministerial meeting of the Human Rights Council, which is in session until March 26.

She said the group had “not yet been able to deploy its full potential” and that Switzerland wanted a “council that responds to the needs of victims and vulnerable groups”.

The council must review its working methods and mandate by 2011. In that regard, Calmy-Rey said all parties were invited to a meeting in Montreux on April 20.

“Switzerland is of the opinion that the [council’s] significant achievements should not be questioned,” Calmy-Rey said. “Let’s not spend all of our energy making the council almost new again.”

Switzerland was one of 47 countries to sit on the council from 2006-2009 but is now just an observer for one year. The country has applied to be a full member from 2010-2013. The UN General Assembly will vote on the matter in May. and agencies

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