(CNSNews.com) – The United States’ human rights record will be back in the spotlight at the U.N. Human Rights Council next week, when the U.S. delegation provides its response to more than 200 recommendations made by other governments, ranging from liberal democracies to the repressive regimes ruling Libya, Iran, Cuba, North Korea and China.
The recommendations cover a broad range of issues, from combating “Islamophobia” to scrapping
March 18 marks the final step in the process known as the
In a three-hour “interactive dialogue” last November, the
Since then, the
The council will then vote to adopt the UPR outcome report.
Many of the recommendations were put forward by governments hostile to or critical of the
Muammar Gaddafi’s government also expressed concern about racial discrimination and intolerance against people of Muslim, Arab, African and Latin American origin, and advised the
-- North Korea urged the U.S. ban torture and punish law enforcement officials who use brutal and excessive force, and to lift sanctions “unilaterally and coercively imposed upon other countries,” and to scrap the North Korea Human Rights Act. (Signed into law by President Bush in 2004, the law aims to help North Korean refugees and pressure the Stalinist regime to improve its rights record.)
Other recommendations included tackling climate change (Venezuela, Nicaragua); ending the embargo of Cuba (Bolivia, Nicaragua, Sudan); including the U.S. in the annual State Department report on human rights around the world (Algeria); and suspending or scrapping the death penalty (Russia and multiple others).
‘Committed to comprehensive immigration reform’
After last November’s UPR session, State Department legal advisor Harold Hongju Koh said that initial assessment found the recommendations fell basically into three categories.
“Many of the recommendations fit well with the Obama administration’s existing approach to human rights, and can be implemented in due course,” he told a press conference in
(One such step was seen on Monday, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the administration would seek Senate ratification of an additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions, relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts. At least five countries recommended this during the UPR.)
Koh said another set of recommendations “invite fuller discussion within our government and with our own civil society.”
And “several recommendations are plainly intended as political provocations, and cannot be taken seriously,” he said. Rather than bona fide recommendations, they were “actually political criticisms of
“Because we take this process seriously, we now plan to conduct a considered, interagency examination of all 228 recommendations, and to give our formal response at the March 2011 council session,” Koh said.
One UPR recommendation that the
“With respect to immigration, the
The administration prompted a furor when it emerged last summer that it had included a reference to the state law in a comprehensive report it had compiled ahead of the November UPR session.
The document went on to pledge that “President Obama remains firmly committed to fixing our broken immigration system …”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in a letter to
After the Justice Department challenged the state law – arguing that immigration enforcement is a federal prerogative – a U.S. District Court judge put key provisions on hold.