For Immediate Release
March 18, 2006
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) welcomed the UN General Assembly decision to
create a new Human Rights Council, calling it a major step in the right
"Something had to be done and now it has," said Johan Candelin, WEA Goodwill
Ambassador and UN representative.
On Thursday, March 16, UN members voted overwhelmingly to create a
47-nation UN Human Rights Council. The council will replace the current
53-country UN Human Rights Commission, which has been heavily criticized for
opening membership to countries with poor human rights records.
The World Evangelical Alliance, which has taken part in the Human Rights
Commission meetings since 1998, has long criticized this "dysfunctional"
aspect of the body.
"We have seen how dysfunctional the Commission has been," said Candelin.
"There existed a 'partnership of violators' where countries that deny human
rights to their own people would defend each other."
Candelin also criticized the widespread denial of UN rapporteurs on
fact-finding trips to many countries. "That has made many of the special UN
rapporteurs to become lame human right ducks," he said.
At that light, Candelin welcomed the Council and prayed that the new body
would fill the critical role the old Commission was expected to carry out.
Responding to the U.S.' decision to vote against the Council,
Candelin said he understands the country's reservations but "this is the
best we could get."
"I believe that U.S. the will be on board soon and become a strong supporter
for the new Council," he said.
Candelin also reiterated the WEA’s commitment to religious freedom and
emphasized the importance of non-governmental participation in the
international governing body.
"The World Evangelical Alliance has given an annual report about religious
freedom to UN delegates in
continue to be a vibrant voice for the hundreds of millions of evangelical
Christians around the world."
Geoff Tunnicliffe, the International Director of the WEA, agreed that
protecting human rights and religious liberty is a top priority for the
"As Evangelical Christians, we are compelled to speak for those who can't
and deliver their messages to the leaders of the world," said Tunnicliffe.
"We will always be committed to speaking out for the poor, the marginalized
and the oppressed."
Rev. Johan Candelin (), Goodwill Ambassador & UN Representative
Tel: + 358 50 5147611
Pauline Chang, Press Secretary
Tel: + 202.223.7556
Sylvia Soon, Chief of Staff
Tel: + 838-3922