United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC John F. Sammis today said the United States of America is firmly committed to working to reform the Human Rights Council and change it for the better.
Mr. Sammis stressed that the the United States has repeatedly urged our fellow members to join them in conducting a thorough, comprehensive review of the Human Rights Council that would significantly improve its ability to meet its core mission: promoting and protecting human rights.
He said the Geneva process failed to yield even minimally positive results, forcing us to dissociate from the outcome. He added the United States appreciated the work that the co-facilitators have done in New York over the past months.
“The final resolution before us also fails to address the core problems that still plague the Human Rights Council. We deeply regret that this opportunity has been missed. The United States has therefore voted “no” on the resolution.”- Mr. Sammis
According to Mr. sammis, the Council had many significant achievements in recent weeks; including a historic resolution highlighting the human rights abuses faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons around the world, a special session on Syria, the Commission of Inquiry in Libya, and the historic creation of a Special Rapporteur to investigate human rights violations in Iran.
He pointed out that the Council’s effectiveness and legitimacy will always be compromised so long as one country in all the world is unfairly and uniquely singled out while others, including chronic human rights abusers, escape scrutiny.
“The gravest of the Council’s structural problems remains its politicized standing Agenda Item 7 on Israel. No member state during this Review has been able to explain how Item 7 is consistent with the principles clearly outlined in the resolution that established the Human Rights Council: “impartiality, non-selectiveness, and balance.” – Mr. Sammis
He emphasized that the Review should have eliminated the unfair and unbalanced Agenda Item and instead ensured that all member states, including Israel, are treated on an equal and impartial basis. He said the the Review is over, but the struggle is not. He reiterated that the U.S. government will continue to fight to remove the item and the biased and unfair resolutions that flow from it.
Mr. Sammis said the United States will continue to work with fellow member states, session by session and resolution by resolution, to advance respect for the rights they hold dear.
“We hope that one day soon, we will be able to act together to redress the fundamental flaws of this Council and fulfill its commitment to promote “universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner.” -Mr. Sammis