Mr Annan has made the comment at the annual session of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
The commission has been harshly criticised recently by human rights groups claiming it has become less of a body for upholding human rights, and more of a haven for violators.
Mr Annan says the situation is damaging the entire United Nations.
"We have reached a point at which the commission's decline in credibility has cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole, and where piecemeal reforms will not be enough, or will not do," he said.
Mr Annan says the 53-member body is failing to protect people against human rights abuses and should be replaced by a smaller council with greater authority.
"The new Human Rights Council must be a society of the committed, it must be more accountable and more representative," he said.
Mr Annan says any new body must have a real impact on people's lives.
"The course of human rights has entered a new era," he said.
"For much of the past 60 years, our focus has been on articulating, codifying and enshrining rights.
"Such work needs to continue in some areas.
"But the era of declaration has now given way - as it should - to an era of implementation."
CO-OFFENDERS DO NOT REBUFF UN ON 'ILLEGAL WAR'
IN OTHER WORDS YOU WOULD DEFY THE WORLD AND PLAY GOD WITH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT MEN WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND DESTROY IRAQ'S INFRASTRUCTURE IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL REGARDLESS OF THE LAW!
Annan admits to a tough year
After eight years in the job, he says he has no intention of stepping down because he retains the support of most member nations of the UN.
Iraq war illegal, says Annan
The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter.
He said the decision to take action in Iraq should have been made by the Security Council, not unilaterally.
The UK government responded by saying the attorney-general made the "legal basis... clear at the time".
Annan tells world leaders to respect law
United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Annan has made an impassioned plea to bring about the rule of law across the globe today. Mr Annan told world leaders to respect international law at home and abroad.
Noble Cause Torture?
The Opposition had signalled it would support the inquiry but after internal discussions, Labor says it does not think a Senate probe is an appropriate forum to investigate the allegations. Then what is the appropriate forum?
Unlock the Box:
The United Front to Abolish the SHU is dedicated to shutting down Security Housing Units (SHUs) in California prisons. The SHU is one type of control unit, which are solitary or small group confinement cells. The inhuman conditions in control units, including total sensory deprivation, amount to torture. The United Front to Abolish the SHU demands that all control units be abolished across the country.
Shut down all Control Units
Control units are designed to administer the very most in sensory deprivation and dehumanization of inmates. The United Nations has put forward clear documents outlining acceptable treatment of prisoners. These documents reaffirm that prisoners retain fundamental human rights. The Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (1990) states: "Except for those limitations that are demonstrably necessitated by the fact of incarceration, all prisoners shall retain the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and, where the State concerned is a party, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol thereto, as well as such other rights as are set out in other United Nations covenants." The United Nations Human Rights Committee has further stressed the obligation of the state to treat prisoners with dignity and allowing them all rights set forward in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which the United $tates signed in 1977).
Control units are physical and mental torture and they very clearly violate the humyn rights of prisoners. They systematically target prisoners who are challenging the legal system and other manifestations of state authority. We, the signatories of this statement, condemn these units and demand that the United $tates abide by the UN principles it claims to uphold. We call for the elimination of all control units in prisons in the United $tates.
Trade Justice Events Sydney 10 -16 April 2005
NO to the rich and powerful imposing unjust trade agreements, indiscriminate liberalisation and privatisation on the poor.
YES to everyone's right to food, a livelihood, water, health and education.
Pentagon chiefs cleared over prisoner abuse
Some human rights groups believe those techniques violate the Geneva Convention and are tantamount to torture, and they have labelled the report a whitewash. But if it were the dogs that were mistreating the detainees how come there hasn't been an independent animal investigation to find out if the dogs were in breach of the rules?
CIA defends terror suspect transfers?
Former Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib, who was arrested in Pakistan several weeks after September 11 attacks and was then transferred to Egypt and Guantanamo Bay, says he was tortured while in custody by US, Egyptian and Pakistani authorities.