United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress [Updated June 5, 2008]   [open pdf - 203KB]

"On March 15, 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a new Human Rights Council (the Council). The U.N. Secretariat and some governments, including the United States, view the establishment of the Council as a key component of comprehensive U.N. reform. [...] Congress maintains an ongoing interest in the credibility and effectiveness of the Council in the context of both human rights and broader U.N. reform. In Divisions J, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriation Act, 2008, of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110- 161), for example, Congress prohibits U.S. contributions to support the Human Rights Council unless (1) the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that funding the Council is 'in the national interest of the United States' or (2) the United States is a member of the Council. Due to the nature of U.N. budget mechanisms, withholding Council funds would be a largely symbolic gesture and may have little or no effect on the Council's operational work. It is expected that interest in this issue will continue during the 110th Congress as the Council enters its third year and expected U.N. reform efforts move forward. This report will be updated as events warrant."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33608
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