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U.S. Election to UN Human Rights Council is a Win for All Americans

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Washington, D.C. (Nov. 12, 2012) — Following today’s announcement that the United States has won a second term to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) —elected with the most votes of any nation within the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) — Peter Yeo, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign, issued the following statement:

“The reelection of the United States to the UN Human Rights Council is a win for every American who values the defense of human rights. It also signifies that the U.S. can continue its work to make the institution more effective.

“On the close heels of the landmark U.S. presidential election, renewing our seat on the Human Rights Council further proves that the U.S. will continue to be a leader in the promotion of free and fair elections. This victory was well earned, as the U.S. ran for just one of three seats against other nations including Germany, Sweden, Ireland, and Greece. The Obama Administration should be applauded for leading by example and participating in a genuinely competitive HRC election, risking a loss against a strong slate of fellow countries.  Hopefully, other countries will be emboldened to run on competitive slates in future HRC elections.

“When the U.S. was first elected to the Council, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton aptly said that ‘Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy… We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies.’

“Her words are as meaningful today and have been manifested in the U.S. record of leadership on the Human Rights Council. In just three years, the United States worked collaboratively with other Council members to address human rights crises in Libya and Syria; established a special rapporteur to assess human rights violations in Iran; passed resolutions on the need to protect the rights of women and girls; broke new ground concerning the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons (LGBT) as well as the need to protect the freedom of expression on the Internet, among many other accomplishments. In addition, the U.S. has stood by and worked to limit actions directed at Israel, allowing for expanded time and resources for the HRC to address other pertinent challenges.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration as it builds on these important actions during its second term on the Council. Like any large institution, the United Nations is not perfect, but it has the power to enhance the legitimacy and impact of U.S. foreign affairs priorities overseas, and the Human Rights Council continues to be an important part of that strategy. What’s more, the U.S. commitment to the Council sends a clear message that diplomacy through the United Nations is essential to the realization of human rights globally. With the United States fully engaged as a member, it can be a positive force for change within the United Nations and the world.”

About the Better World Campaign

The Better World Campaign works to foster a strong relationship between the U.S. and the UN to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The Better World Campaign engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations.

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