Executive Intelligence Review
Executive Intelligence Review, May 11, 2001 Internet Edition

Sudan In, U.S. Out Of UN Rights Commission!

by Marianna Wertz

On May 4, the United States lost its seat on the 53-member United Nations Human Rights Commission, while Sudan--the target of human rights charges by the U.S. and Britain--was voted onto the group.

Regional groups nominate candidates for the commission, and the United States came in last among the four candidates nominated for three seats in its group, after France (52 votes), Austria (41 votes) and Sweden (32 votes). The U.S. got 29 votes in this group.

James Cunningham, acting U.S. ambassador to the UN until the Senate confirms Bush's choice of John Negroponte, "refused to speculate on whether the U.S. ouster from the commission was the result of growing anger against the United States for taking too many unilateral positions on issues such as a national missile defense shield and pulling out of the 1997 Kyoto treaty to curb global warming," according to the news wire.

Britain was voted off the commission in both 1977 and 1991.

Countries voted onto the commission included Bahrain, South Korea and Pakistan from the Asia Group; and Croatia and Armenia from the Eastern Europe Group. The Ibero-America Group selected Chile and Mexico without a vote, and the African Group chose Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, and Uganda, also without a vote.

Asked whether it were awkward for the United States to have lost, when Sudan had been chosen for a commission seat, Cunningham reportedly refused to comment, according to the wire report.

The commission was shaped originally with the leadership of Eleanor Roosevelt, who helped to write the International Bill of Human Rights after her husband's death. As the Bush Administration seeks to dismantle everything that Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt fought for, it is perhaps fitting that the UN should kick the U.S. off this commission.

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