India, US discuss working of UNHRC

Friday, November 6, 2009

NEW DELHI - India and the US have held discussions to review the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a senior American diplomat said here Friday.

We spoke about improving the UNHRC, Maria Otero, US under secretary for democracy and human rights, told reporters here Friday. The discussions were part of the annual US-India Global issues forum co-chaired by her and Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao Thursday.

She pointed out that the UNHRC was up for its five-year review in 2011. This is part of that process, she said, adding it indicated President Barack Obama’s signal of involvement with the Untied Nations.

The US had withdrawn from the council in 2008, but had returned to the fold in March 2009.

Besides, she said, both countries held wide-ranging discussions in areas ranging from pandemic influenza, disaster management to climate change, which could lead to bilateral documents to be unveiled during the state visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington this month.

Discussions could lead to memorandums of understanding in a wide range of issues, from climate change to disaster management, she said.

“We were mainly looking at the disaster management organisation here and finding ways to collaborate with US agencies like Federal Emergency Management Agency and Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance, she said.

Otero said another area was to help supporting “India in its leadership role in the region to share its knowledge through SAARC.

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