Annan announces UN Democracy Fund

Sirte- Libya (PANA) -- Secretary General Kofi Annan Monday announced the creation of a UN Democracy Fund to assist countries seeking to establish or strengthen their democratic systems.
Addressing the 5th Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) here, Annan said a number of UN member States had already indicated their desire to contribute to the fund, and urged other nations to follow suit.
He said the fund was being created based on the knowledge that maintaining democratic institutions "can put strains on a poor country's resources.
" Africa, the UN chief said "has much to be proud of" in growing trends towards democracy, noting that "more African States have democratically elected governments today than ever before.
" "The number of military coups has declined significantly, thanks in part to the strong stand against them taken by the (African) Union.
Throughout the continent, ordinary people are organising themselves and making their voices heard," Annan added.
He also announced a proposed transformation of the UN Commission on Human Rights, which, he said, was "suffering from declining credibility," into a Human Rights Council.
According to him, the Council would not exclude any region or group of States, but would "rather promote respect for all human rights in all countries, north and south alike," ensuring universal scrutiny and accountability.
Annan said member States have expressed support for the proposed Council, and called on Africa to lend its backing to restore human rights to the prominence accorded them under the Universal Declaration and other legally binding instruments.

04 july 2005 22:17:00




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