UN rights chief says 'human rights approach' needed in crisis

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GENEVA: The United Nations top human rights official on Friday called on states to take on a human rights approach in their responses to the economic crisis, saying that such an approach would make solutions more durable.

While it is imperative to respond to the current crises with a thorough review of the functioning of the international financial and monetary mechanisms, a human rights approach will contribute to making solutions more durable in the medium and long run, Navi Pillay told a UN meeting.

Pillay said government policies to address the crisis should go beyond temporary measures and deal with deeply rooted causes of discrimination to prevent the crisis from having a lasting impact on larger sectors of the population.

The 47 member UN Human Rights Council convened a special session on the impact of the economic and financial crises on human rights, after a request led by Brazil and Egypt.

But a non-governmental group, UN Watch, described the session as a waste of the organization s precious time, resources and moral capital.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said that many other United Nations bodies deal with economic issues, but only the Human Rights Council is mandated to deal with human rights abuses.

Through such special sessions, the council is diverting attention from the world’s worst abusers and diluting the seriousness of the human rights agenda, he said.

If banking, mortgages and stocks are a human rights issue, what isn’t? If everything is a human right issue, then nothing is, said Neuer.

UN human rights treaties cover not only civil and political rights, but also economic and social rights. -AFP

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