The United States and the UN Human Rights Council: An Early Assessment.
The United States assumed membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009. That move reversed its decision, taken only a few months earlier under George W. Bush, to withdraw America’s official observer mission.
President Obama’s new openness may suggest a fresh start to American foreign policy, but the US has not altered its basic objections to the Council’s procedures and decisions. Failures of the Council’s predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, had been attributed to politicisation and bias.
Since the Commission’s dissolution, the US had warned against a repeat of the Commission’s failures. Disgruntled that those warnings were ignored, the US withdrew its observer status in 2008. America’s critics dismiss such gestures, blaming that uneasy relationship with the Council on the Americans’ desire to avoid scrutiny their own human rights record.
This article examines such recurring claims and counter-claims. Notwithstanding the poisoned international atmosphere created by the Bush administration, it is argued here that many Council members, as well as official mandate holders, did indeed abuse the Council’s procedures. The result was an excessive focus on the US and American interests, to the exclusion of serious human rights violations elsewhere in the world.
Rosa A. Freedman. 2009. "The United States and the UN Human Rights Council: An Early Assessment." ExpressO
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rosa_freedman/2