Officials at U.N. Seek Fast Action on Rights Panel (WARREN HOGE, 1/01/06, NY Times)

Officials of the United Nations, which has struggled through a period of scandal and mismanagement, have decided they must act within weeks to produce an alternative to its widely discredited Human Rights Commission to maintain hope of redeeming the United Nations’ credibility in 2006. […]

“The reason highly abusive governments flock to the commission is to prevent condemnation of themselves and their kind, and most of the time they succeed,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “If you’re a thug, you want to be on the committee that tries to condemn thugs.”

Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff to Secretary General Kofi Annan, noted that with two other crucial steps toward reform in place – a new Peacebuilding Commission to help countries emerging from war, and a biennial budget under an arrangement laying the groundwork for major management change by June – the rights commission had taken center stage.

“For the great global public, the performance or nonperformance of the Human Rights Commission has become the litmus test of U.N. renewal,” he said. “We can’t overestimate getting a clear win on this in January.”

To a remarkable extent, by redeeming the UN they mean in the eyes of George W. Bush and the United States.

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