The Global Citizen: Human Rights Council
We are in a rare, open moment of history.
Consider this. During the last week:
"We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." -- Franklin Roosevelt
More than 60 years ago, President Roosevelt reminded us that protecting the human rights of others is the only way to protect our own human rights.
Today, the Washington Post's lead editorial jumped on Arab states that welcomed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to the Doha Arab League summit. The Post observed the Leagues' call for the:
"international community to prosecute those responsible" for alleged 'war crimes' committed by Israel in its recent offensive in Gaza."
As well as the Leagues':
"ardent defense of Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir -- who was welcomed to the Doha summit despite an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on multiple war crimes charges."
However, the Post has failed to point out the Obama administrations' own double standard. While U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has strongly endorsed the Court's decision to issue the Bashir arrest warrants, the rest of the Administration has remained silent on the responsibility of other nations to honor those warrants and deliver Bashir to the Court, as well as the United States responsibility to do so. Instead the U.S. has continued to fund those nations, for example sending $1.3 billion to Egypt.
Citizens for Global Solutions is thrilled to hear that the U.S. has officially announced its candidacy for Human Rights Council elections in May. Currently, the HRC is the primary global intergovernmental body able to address human rights issues - the U.S. has never been a member or an active participant. CGS has advocated that the U.S. run for a seat for a long time and we are now looking forward to the elections. The U.S. will compete for the seat with Belgium, Norway and New Zealand. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, echoed our sentiments when she stated:
Those who suffer from abuse and oppression around the world, as well as those who dedicate their lives to advancing human rights, need the Council to be balanced and credible. The U.S. is seeking election to the Council because we believe that working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights. We hope to work in partnership with many countries to achieve a more effective Council.
Congressman Howard Berman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee also issued a statement supporting CGS views:
It has been an interesting couple of days here at the WFM. I have been part of some wide ranging discussions on human rights, the rule of law and the growth of new international organizations like the Human Rights Council and the Peace Building Commission. At a session at the Palace of Nations yesterday we were given an opportunity to dialogue with influential UN actors including the director-general and senior figures from the HRC and the office of the Human Rights Commissioner.
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