The United States has announced that it will seek a seat this year on the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The decision to run reflects the U.S. commitment to helping the Human Rights Council play its intended role as a balanced, credible, and effective forum for the advancement of human rights. Elections to the Human Rights Council are scheduled for May 12th in the UN General Assembly in New York.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the U.S. decision to join the U.N. Human Rights Council saying, “Full U.S. engagement on human rights issues is an important step toward realizing the goal of an inclusive and vibrant intergovernmental process to protect rights around the globe.”
In order for the U.N. Human Rights Council to function effectively and credibly, it must be willing to confront major rights abusers within its ranks. As the U.S. Human Rights Commitments and Pledges document states,
“The United States commits to working with principled determination for a balanced, credible, and effective U.N. Human Rights Council to advance the purpose of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The document produced in support of the U.S. candidacy for membership in the U.N. human rights body goes on to say, the U.S. “fully intend(s) to promote universality, transparency, and objectivity in all the Council’s endeavors.”
As a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.S. also intends to strengthen the means to advance the rights, protection, and empowerment of women and to eliminate all forms of violence against women. The U.S. also commits to combating all forms of trafficking in persons.
The United States is committed to promoting freedom of religion for individuals of all beliefs. In addition, the U.S. recognizes the essential contributions of independent media in promoting freedom of expression, exposing human rights abuses, and promoting accountability and transparency.
"Guaranteeing the right of every man, woman and child to participate fully in society and to live up to his or her God-given potential is an ideal that has animated our nation since its founding," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. And these are the principles that the U.S. seeks to promote as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council.