The World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee said on Friday that the new United Nations Human Rights Council needs to avoid "policies and practices of double standards, en-bloc voting and politicization of the human rights agenda that were so prevalent at the UN Commission on Human Rights" that they "virtually paralyzed" it before its "ignominious end".
The statement affirms, however, the need to maintain and strengthen the special human rights mechanisms of the UNCHR. "The system of Special Procedures developed by the UNCHR, of Human Rights Treaty Bodies as well as of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office, should be actively supported," respected and enhanced, it specifies.
The WCC statement encourages UN member states "to recognize and accept the importance of the universality of human rights and to work for it in a spirit of cooperation across regional lines".
At the same time, it calls on WCC member churches to "continue to work closely with the Human Rights Council," among others by "monitoring compliance with internationally accepted human rights, norms and standards".
The 60-year-old UN Commission on Human Rights held its final session on 27 March, and its successor, a new UN Human Rights Council, is to be formally inaugurated on 19 June 2006.
The World Council of Churches “promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world”. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
WCC has declared the current decade, 2001 – 2010 a decade to overcome violence and is running several projects in Palestine and other countries to help promoting nonviolence.
The Ecumenical Accompanier Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is an initiative of the World Council of Churches under the Ecumenical Campaign to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine: Support a Just Peace in the Middle East. Its mission is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their non-violent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation.
Participants of the programmed are monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, supporting acts of non-violent resistance alongside local Christian and Muslim Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, offering protection through non-violent presence, engaging in public policy advocacy and, in general, standing in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.