UN Watch Director Heads Expert Panel at Paris Conference Marking 60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Paris, Oct. 2, 2008 — As vice-president of the Geneva NGO Special Committee on Human Rights, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer headed an expert panel at the UN’s annual conference of non-governmental organizations, which convened in Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing there of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The conference gathered 1,700 NGOs associated with the United Nations for three days of debate.

Neuer chaired the panel discussion on the UN Human Rights Council, cosponsored by the Conference of NGOs (CONGO) and Pax Romana, featuring Willy Fautre of Human Rights Frontiers International, Peter Prove of the Lutheran World Federation, Paula Schriefer of Freedom House, and Lukas Machon of the International Commission of Jurists.

The presenters debated issues concerning the new Universal Periodic Review procedure; the interaction of the 47-nation council with other UN human rights bodies; the council’s composition and voting record; and the vital role of independent experts and NGOs.

In response to a question posed by Neuer, the panel also addressed the council’s censorship of NGO speeches—an issue raised by French human rights minister Rama Yade at the conference opening—and the council’s newly installed  regime to police “abuses” of free speech around the world.

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