United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress [January 26, 2011]   [open pdf - 279KB]

"In March 2009, the Barack Obama Administration announced that it would run for a seat on the Council. The United States was elected as a Council member by the U.N. General Assembly on May 12, 2009, and its term began on June 19, 2009. The Administration stated that it furthers the United States' interest 'if we are part of the conversation and present at the Council's proceedings.' At the same time, however, it called the Council's trajectory 'disturbing,' particularly its 'repeated and unbalanced' criticisms of Israel. On November 5, 2010, the United States underwent the Council's universal periodic review process for the first time. Since its establishment, the Council has held 15 regular sessions and 14 special sessions. The regular sessions addressed a combination of specific human rights abuses and procedural and structural issues. Six of the 14 special sessions addressed the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Lebanon. Other special sessions focused on the human rights situations in Burma (Myanmar), Cote d'Ivoire, Darfur, Haiti, and Sri Lanka. 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."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33608
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