PHR Welcomes US Commitment to the UN Human Rights Council

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) joined partner organizations in applauding the United States government’s announcement to pursue a second term on the UN Human Rights Council. The Council is a key international body that addresses human rights violations and crisis situations worldwide. In recent weeks alone the Human Rights Council has taken swift action to respond to human rights violations in Libya and passed a resolution appointing a Special Rapporteur for Iran. US leadership on the Council has been instrumental in securing these important successes as well as defeating dangerous resolutions including one designed to curtail freedom of speech. Continued US involvement with the Council will usher in future human rights advances, hopefully in areas in which the Council has been slow to act. Regarding Burma, for example, the US can and should take a proactive role to encourage fellow Council members to pass a resolution establishing a Commission of Inquiry to investigate international crimes in Burma. Concerted US pressure on this issue will help the Human Rights Council take a strong stance against criminality and impunity in the country. While US involvement has positively shaped the Council’s actions, there is some domestic political resistance to this important body. House Republican leaders have called on the US to withdraw from the Human Rights Council. PHR is glad the Administration is not bowing to this criticism and is staying the course on human rights by remaining an influential player on the Council. The US commitment to seek a second term on the Council signals to the international community that the US will continue to press the Council to address serious human rights violations. PHR will continue to monitor US involvement at the Council and will encourage the Administration to continue pressing for strong human rights protections worldwide.

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