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New U.N. Human Rights Council: President Carter, With Other Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Urge Quick Adoption




ATLANTA....I urge all nations to move quickly to adopt the proposed resolution offered yesterday by U.N. General Assembly President Jan Eliasson on the creation of a new Human Rights Council. President Eliasson has succeeded in producing a delicate compromise that contains many good aspects, including a body that will be elevated in status within the UN and will be much more effective. It will help to ensure that all members of the Council will be committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, and those who violate these standards will be suspended. I join Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the major human rights organizations in the belief that this agreement is a good start in the right direction.

The following letter, signed by 12 Nobel Peace Prize recipients, was released following Thursday’s presentation of the Council framework by U.N. General Assembly President Jan Eliasson.

We the undersigned Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and representatives of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate organizations urge the creation of a representative and effective U.N. Human Rights Council.

In virtually every armed conflict since the formation of the United Nations, gross human rights violations have preceded armed conflict. The stripping of rights and recognition of a people sets the stage for genocide and ethnic cleansing. In all continents, human rights violations have provided powerful fuel for the escalation of violence.

The body entrusted with setting and maintaining the international standards for human rights among the UN member states is the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. While the Commission has a proud history, beginning with the issuance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, today it has become ineffective. In some instances, it has been led and influenced by gross human rights violators themselves, resulting in the decline in credibility of one of the pillars of the United Nations.

We support the bold remedy and new Human Rights Council proposed by Secretary General Kofi Annan last year, and endorsed by world leaders at the September 2005 World Summit.

The new Council as described in the recent text submitted by the President of the General Assembly will be more responsive to human rights violations and fairer in its review of human rights practices. It will also preserve and build on the strengths of the existing Commission on Human Rights.

We are approaching a critical point in history where we can reinvigorate the U.N.’s role in the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights. Please join us in our support for this important initiative.


Former President Jimmy Carter, United States, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

José Ramos Horta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, Timor Leste, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

Former President and current Presidential candidate Oscar Arias, Costa Rica, 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, East Timor, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Norman E. Borlaug, Grandfather of the “Green Revolution,” 1970 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Former President Kim Dae-jung, Republic of Korea, 2000 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Argentina, 1980 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

John Hume, Northern Ireland, 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Mairead Maguire, Northern Ireland, 1977 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

David Trimble, Northern Ireland, 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Jody Williams, Ambassador, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient


The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center.

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