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Annan urges US to take leadership role in human rights

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] encouraged the US on Friday to lead the world in advancing human rights in a speech [text] at George Washington University, and criticized the Bush administration for deciding not to seek a position [JURIST report] to the new UN Human Rights Council [official website; JURIST news archive]. Annan noted that the first members of the Human Rights Council will be responsible for shaping its direction, and that US involvement would help provide a "spectacular improvement" over the former UN Commission on Human Rights, but further added that he does not think the US can ensure a "peaceful and stable future for humanity" on its own. AP has more.

The new UN Human Rights Council will hold elections next week, but the US decided not to seek a seat on the council after voting against [JURIST report] the resolution [JURIST document] to create the council. The Bush administration argued that there are inadequate checks [JURIST report] to prevent membership by countries with poor human rights records. However, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday that future US participation on the Human Rights Council is a possibility. The list of candidates [official website; HRW analysis] for the May 9 election currently includes 43 submissions.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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