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Annan Praises New UN Rights Body --> UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (file photo) (epa) March 20, 2006 -- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has hailed the creation of a new UN Human Rights Council, saying the new body would avoid the problems that plagued its predecessor.

Writing in the daily newspaper "The Wall Street Journal Asia," Annan said safeguards would make it hard for rights violators to win election to the council.

The Human Rights Council replaces the former Human Rights Commission, which was strongly criticized for allowing countries with poor human rights records to join as members. Members of the new council will be directed elected by a majority of the UN General Assembly.

The General Assembly voted to form the new council earlier this month over the objections of the United States. The United States argued the council would not go far enough in barring rights abusers from membership.