US to seek 2nd term on United Nations Human Rights Council

With May 2011 elections still being held for 15 seats on the 47-member body, the US does not need to announce its plans for a second term until next year.

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March 31, 2011 01:41
1 minute read.
UNHRC headquarters in Geneva

UNHRC headquarters 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The United States on Wednesday announced its intention to seek a second term on the United Nations Human Rights Council its spite of that body’s biased actions against Israel.

The US’s three-year term on the council does not expire until May 2012. With May 2011 elections still being held for 15 seats on the 47-member body, the US does not need to announce its plans for a second term until next year.

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On Wednesday, however, in a show of support for the council, the US State Department spokesman Mark Toner hailed the “landmark achievements” of the UNHRC in its 16th session, which ended last Friday.

He praised the council’s work, even though in its 16th session the UNHRC passed six resolutions against Israel, the most it has ever approved on Israel in any single session. The US was the only country to vote against all six resolutions.

Toner admitted that there was still much work to be done to improve the council and in particular to end its “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,” Toner said.

In a veiled referenced to Syria’s bid for council membership in 2011, Toner said, “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.”

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In noting the achievements of the 16th session, Toner cited the council’s decision to appoint a special investigator into human rights issues in Iran.

He added that 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,” Toner said.

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