House Committee Votes to Limit U.S. Leadership Role on Human Rights at U.N.
October 14, 2011 - Posted by Sakira Cook
In a straight party-line vote of 23-15, Republican members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs this week passed H.R. 2829, the U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011. Among other things, the legislation seeks to withhold funding for several important U.N. programs and activities and restrict U.S. participation in the Human Rights Council.
On October 13, 2011, The Leadership Conference sent to members of the committee a letter opposing H.R. 2829 and highlighting the positive results achieved by U.S.participation on the Human Rights Council, including a groundbreaking resolution addressing violence, discrimination, and incitement to religious hatred and the first ever resolution addressing violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.
"Eliminating U.S. engagement with the Human Rights Council would undermine the global leadership of the United States and our ability to build support to advance vital human rights protections for people around the world," read the letter from The Leadership Conference.
Additionally, the Leadership Conference raised concerns about a key provision of the bill that cuts funding to U.N. bodies tasked with implementing human rights conventions to which the U.S. is not a party, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the most comprehensive women's human rights treaty. If enacted, this provision would undermine the U.N.'s work in advancing the rights of women worldwide. Instead, The Leadership Conference is urging Congress to support the Obama administration's efforts to win Senate ratification of CEDAW, enabling the U.S. to join with 187 other countries that have committed to advance and protect the rights of women by implementing CEDAW.
The Leadership Conference and others, including the Better World Campaign, will continue their efforts to oppose the enactment of H.R. 2829. It is still to be determined whether the bill will be scheduled for a vote on the House floor.