Thursday, June 12, 2008

US Withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

The US came under heavy criticism from Human Rights Watch after it distanced itself from the UN Human Rights Council and said it would only engage the council when matters of “deep national interest” arose. State Department spokesman Sean McCormarck said, “Our skepticism regarding the function of the UN Council on Human Rights in terms of fulfilling its mandate and its mission is well known. It has a rather pathetic record.” Critics of the Council claim that it has fallen under the control of Islamic and African countries that easily maintain a majority vote when backed by their Russian, Chinese, and Cuban allies. The Council has also come under fire for criticizing Israel for its treatment of Palestinians while failing to act on a number of human rights violations, such as Darfur. Human Rights Watch claims that “Washington’s hands-off approach to the Human Rights Council undermined it from the start” and that “the US shares responsibility for the shortcomings it’s now using to justify its withdraw from the council.”


Links:
US distances itself from UN rights body (Reuters)
US: Leaving UN Rights Council Fails Victims of Abuse (HRW)