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UN Rights Conference Suspended

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (file photo) (CTK) March 13, 2006 -- The ongoing uncertainty about the future of a proposed new United Nations body on human rights led today to the suspension of the annual UN conference on human rights.

The conference was suspended for a week in the hope that diplomats will reach agreement about the creation of the new body, the Human Rights Council.

Among the key questions is whether the United States will agree to the plan.

The new council would replace the Human Rights Commission, which had been criticized for allowing some of the worst rights-offending countries to use their membership to protect each other from criticism.

The plan has the backing of several UN members, the European Union, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

But Washington says the proposal needs tougher standards to ensure that rights violators cannot hold seats on the council.

(ITAR-TASS, dpa)