Swiss welcome United Nations reform plan

Swiss proposals for reform at the UN have been accepted Keystone

Switzerland says it is satisfied with proposals to reform the United Nations, unveiled by UN General Assembly president Jean Ping on Friday.

This content was published on June 3, 2005 - 20:56

The plan contains several suggestions from Switzerland, including the creation of a Human Rights Council and increased rights for non-members of the Security Council.

UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, said in March that he wanted to improve efficiency, transparency and coordination within the UN. His proposals include the enlargement of the Security Council and improvements on how it is run.

A provisional plan has now been drawn up and has been presented to the UN in New York by Ping. It includes the Swiss suggestion of creating a new, permanent human-rights council, which could replace the current Human Rights Commission.

Annan has vigorously supported the idea of reforming the Human Rights Commission, which he believes is undermining the UN’s credibility.

The Human Rights Commission was launched 60 years ago and is the UN’s main mechanism for monitoring respect for human rights around the world.

But critics say infighting and its inability to act firmly in the face of clear cases of abuse have eroded its authority.

More participation

Another Swiss proposal included on the document is stepping up the participation of countries which are not members of the Security Council in the decision-making process at the UN.

There are five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom – and ten non-permanent members which are elected on a two-year basis.

Reacting to the provisional plan unveiled on Friday, the Swiss Ambassador to the UN, Peter Maurer, said he was satisfied with the proposals.

He added that the text was in line with Switzerland’s expectations and also praised the collaboration with Ping.

The proposals are due to be debated at UN summit in New York in September.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The Human Rights Commission was established in 1946 and is made up of representatives from 53 countries nominated by regional groupings.

It meets every year for a six-week session to assess the human rights situation across the world.

The commission has come in for heavy criticism recently, particularly in a report on UN reform commissioned by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.

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