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Annan Calls Rights Council 'Great New Chance' For UN

UN Secretary-General Kofin Annan (file photo) (CTK) June 19, 2006 -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said at the inaugural two-week session of the new UN Human Rights Council that the council is a "great new chance" for the UN to renew its struggle for human rights.

Annan said the council's work "must mark a clean break from the past."

The now defunct UN Human Rights Commission had been discredited because some countries with poor rights records used their position on the commission to protect each other from condemnation.

The 47 members of the new Human Rights Council had to win election by a majority in the UN General Assembly.

Some countries whose rights records have been criticized -- including Azerbaijan, China, Pakistan, Russia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia -- were among those who won seats.

(AP, Reuters)