Thursday, December 15, 2005

Index of Human Rights Inches Forward

I have just had a very encouraging response from the office of the Commonwealth Secretary-General regarding the proposal for a Human Rights Index in the UN. While unable to give an immediate endorsement, Donald McKinnon has asked me to remain in touch with the Human Rights Unit at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Index has also received endorsements from: the Movement Against War, Green Party of England and Wales, World Concern, and the Global Action Plan to Prevent War.

Rosemary Banks, Permanent Representative at the UN for New Zealand, was also very encouraging, and mentioned that NZ supported the UN special rapporteur on Violence Against Women to develop indices on states' performance in eradicating gender-based violence.

I hope that these modest successes may in turn encourage the Boards of the
UK United Nations Associations to take a positive view of the Human Rights Index I have yet to encounter any absolute objections; the most common relative objection is the anticipated difficulty of getting abusing states to agree to the Index, but I imagine that the same might be said of any progressive proposal.

The great virtue of the Index is that it is not just another statement of
principle, but an effective instrument to influence states' behaviour on a
continuing basis.

Read all about it here:

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