(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday that it “cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country.” However, a five-year review of how the council functions is set to reaffirm that
The Obama administration has long argued that the Israel-centric agenda item should be abolished, and continued to do so during a series of “working group” negotiations on the council review, held in recent weeks.
Nonetheless, on February 24, the working group adopted a report that leaves the agenda item untouched. Although the
Doing so means that the council will begin its second five years with its skewed attention on
The administration has made its membership of the HRC a centerpiece of its policy of engagement with the United Nations.
One of the primary criticisms of the U.N.’s top human rights body – and one of the key reasons given by the Bush administration for shunning it – has been its obsessive focus on
The spotlight on
The HRC has ten permanent items on its agenda, ranging from “organizational and procedural matters” (item one) to “technical assistance and capacity-building” (item ten).
Two of the items deal with specific human rights situations: Item seven deals with the “human rights situation in
Five years into the life of the council, the review process now underway is intended to rectify some of the weaknesses that have become evident since it began operating, including the
“The structural bias against
“And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together,” she added. “As member states, we can take this council in a better, stronger direction.”
She said the
‘Bias confirmed at every sitting’
After the working group last week approved the report that leaves agenda item seven in place, the
“The council’s bias against
Anne Bayefsky, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and editor of its Eye on the U.N. project, said the administration could have gone further.
“If the Obama administration had really wanted to stand on principle they could have said ‘we do not join consensus on this document,’” she wrote in a column on FoxNews.com on Monday.
“They could have demanded that there be a vote in the council on the document before sending it to the General Assembly for formal approval, and then voted against it for the world to see,” Bayefsky said. “And most importantly, they could have made it very clear that the absence of a change would result in the
During the working group negotiations, on Feb. 18,
Scrapping the item from the agenda was “the only way to begin the process of reconstructing the council’s credibility and legitimacy,” he said.