US applauds UN rights body`s move to establish Spl Rapporteur

This is the first-ever Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly, association.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2010, 14:50 PM IST

Washington: The US has applauded the decision of the UN Human Rights Council to establish the first-ever Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association, saying it will be a "strong, independent and credible voice" to highlight the growing threats to civil society.

The decision to establish the mechanism came yesterday after the US co-sponsored a resolution for its creation with a broad cross-regional group of 62 countries, including original co-sponsors -- Czech Republic, Indonesia, Lithuania, Maldives, Mexico and Nigeria.

"I applaud decision by the Human Rights Council to take action in defence of members of civil society around the globe by creating the first-ever Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

"This unprecedented action is a good first step in defending a fundamental freedom enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one that I emphasised during my July trip to Poland," she said.

Hillary hoped that this resolution will become an impetus for countries around the world to strengthen protections for this fundamental freedom.

This consensus resolution, which won the support of many countries that have not always stood up for such fundamental freedoms, demonstrates clearly how they can all find common ground on challenging issues in order to advance our core beliefs, she said.

Mike Hammer, spokesman, National Security Council, White House, said: "Passage of this resolution delivers on that call to action and reflects the universal recognition that promotion of human rights is a moral and pragmatic necessity."

"The new Special Rapporteur will be a strong, independent and credible voice to highlight the growing threats to assembly, association and civil society, while developing best practices for the protections of those rights," Hammer said.

US President Barack Obama had said last week at the UN General Assembly in New York that the "arc of human progress has been shaped by individuals with the freedom to assemble" and urged the international community "to embrace and effectively monitor norms that advance the rights of civil society and guarantee its expansion within and across borders."

PTI