US to push for new expert on freedom of assembly at UN human rights forum

GENEVA (AP) — The United States wants the United Nations to appoint an independent expert on freedom of assembly.

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe — the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council — told reporters Wednesday the U.S. will propose the new post at a three-week meeting of the Geneva-based body starting Monday.

She didn't cite specific situations that prompted the call but said freedom of assembly is a "fundamental pillar" for protecting human rights.

The council already has 39 unpaid experts who monitor human rights worldwide. They have no legal power but can highlight issues or countries of concern.

The meeting will also consider abuses in Sudan, discrimination against women and Israel's raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla.