Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice announced this week that the US is seeking a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. In a press release, Ambassador Rice explained that “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.” The Bush administration did not support the Human Rights Council and criticism of the council continues by some republicans, according to the New York Times.
Human Rights Council President Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi reacted to the announcement in a statement. He said, “I am very encouraged by the news of the decision of the U.S. to run for a seat in the Human Rights Council. This is further evidence of their commitment to advancing human rights globally, thus building on the work of the Council to promote and protect all human rights universally without distinction of any kind.” New Zealand withdrew their nomination, making a seat more easily available for the US delegation. New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully told the Wall Street Journal that “New Zealand’s decision to withdraw will enable our many supporters to vote in substantial numbers for a U.S. candidature in May” and that US membership “is more likely to create positive changes more quickly than we could have hoped to achieve.”
The council election will be May 12; members of the council hold three year terms.