— Mark Tones, Acting Deputy Spokesman, U.S. Department of State
The United States is pleased to note the landmark achievements of the most recent session of the UN Human Rights Council.
This session included bold, assertive action by the Council to highlight the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran by establishing a new Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in that country, the first country-specific mandate created by the Council since it came into being. The Council also charted a new course for global efforts to condemn intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief while protecting and promoting freedom of expression. The Council established a Commission of Inquiry to examine serious abuses and violations of human rights in Cote d’Ivoire, and extended the Council’s scrutiny of the ongoing serious human rights abuses in Burma. And in conjunction with the session, the United States led a ground-breaking effort to get 85 UN member-states to join a statement supporting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Taken collectively, the actions taken by the 16th Human Rights Council represent a significant positive change in the Council’s trajectory.
However, much work remains to be done to ensure that the Council realizes fully its intended purpose. In particular, the United States remains determined to take all possible steps to end the Council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel.
The United States maintains a vocal, principled stand against this focus, and will continue its robust efforts to end it. We also will continue to work to thwart the efforts to elect as Council members governments that clearly do not merit membership given their own human rights records. And the United States remains determined to continue to push the Council to address a broad range of urgent and serious human rights concerns worldwide. To this end, the United States Government intends to pursue a second term on the Council at the Human Rights Council elections in New York in May 2012.
We believe that U.S. engagement in the Human Rights Council has directly resulted in real progress. In our two years on the Council, we’ve not been happy with every outcome, and have firmly denounced Council actions we disagree with, but the Council has made important strides. Much work remains to be done for the Human Rights Council to sustain the gains of the last two years and to fully realize its potential, and the United States looks forward to continuing our efforts to do so.
Remarks by NJDC follow the jump.
— David Streeter
Today, the Obama Administration reiterated its commitment to fighting anti-Israel bias in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The State Department said in a statement:
However, much work remains to be done to ensure that the Council realizes fully its intended purpose. In particular, the United States remains determined to take all possible steps to end the Council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel. The United States maintains a vocal, principled stand against this focus, and will continue its robust efforts to end it.
The State Department also said in a fact sheet that details the United States’ accomplishments in the UNHRC:
Much work remains before the Council can fully realize its mandate as the international community’s focal point for the protection and promotion of human rights. The United States will continue to work hard to diminish the Council’s biased disproportionate focus on Israel. The United States maintains a vocal, principled stand against this focus, and will continue its robust efforts to end it.
This declaration fits with the Obama Administration’s demonstrated record of standing up for Israel at the United Nations. Some of the Obama Administration’s accomplishments on defending Israel at the UN include:
- Leading the global effort to sanction Iran because of its pursuit of nuclear weapons. A number of Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren have praised President Barack Obama and his administration for their leadership;
- Standing with Israel at the United Nations following the flotilla incident;
- Asserting Israel’s legitimacy at the United Nations General Assembly;
- Standing with Israel against the Goldstone report;
- Previously blasting UNHRC for its anti-Israel bias – which Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice informally dubbed its “anti-Israel crap“;
- Consistently affirming that the Israel-obsessed United Nations is not the place to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict;
- Boycotting Durban II; and
- Amassing a strong record of vetoing and voting against anti-Israel resolutions, including the most recent in the Israel-obsessed UN Security Council (UNSC). Click here for more information on the UNSC veto.