US renews calls for UN Human Rights Council reform

UNITED NATIONS - The United States will push to reform the election process for the UN Human Rights Council to prevent violators of international law from securing seats on the top UN rights body, a senior US diplomat said on Friday.
Washington's latest call for comprehensive reform of the United Nations, an organization of which some Republicans in the United States are highly critical, comes as the 2012 US presidential election campaign heats up.
US deputy ambassador for management and reform of the United Nations, Joe Torsella, said in remarks prepared for delivery at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington that human rights offenders should be barred from the 47-nation Geneva-based Human Rights Council.
"The US will work to forge a new coalition at the UN in New York, a kind of 'credibility caucus' to promote truly competitive elections, rigorous application of membership criteria, and other reforms aimed at keeping the worst offenders on the sidelines," he said.
"It is time for all UN member states committed to human rights to come together to ... hold Human Rights Council members to the same standard of truly free and fair elections that the UN promotes around the world, and insist on the highest standards of integrity for the Council and all its members."
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