USA saying good-bye to top UN committee

New York, USA
May 4, 2001

The USA will henceforth not be represented in the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. In the vote on Thursday the USA lost their seat. "We are very disappointed," commented their presiding UN ambassador.

The USA was defeated in the vote in the "western Europe and others" group by France, Austria and Sweden. Of the total of four candidates for this group France received 52 votes, Austria 41 and Sweden 32 votes. Only 29 states voted for the USA.

"We are very disappointed," said presiding UN Ambassador James Cunningham after the election. "We would have wanted very much to be able to serve the commission." Nevertheless Washington would be represented within and outside of the UN in human rights, said Cunningham. The USA had belonged to the committee every year since its founding in 1947.

From Asia Bahrain, South Korea and Pakistan were elected to the commission, from eastern Europe Armenia and Croatia. Latin America chose Chile and Mexico uncontested, same with Africa for Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo and Uganda.

American critics of the decision speculated about the reasons for the election defeat. Of the many member countries who themselves could not demonstrate a good balance of human rights at home, not many favored the USA, said for instance the UN representative of the New York human rights group Human Rights Watch, Joanna Weschler.

Yet, especially in Europe, the plan of the US government for one-sided construction of a national missile defense or Washington's disagreeable attitude towards the founding of a UN world criminal court, as well as their withdrawal from the Kyoto environmental protection treaty could have played a role. Thursday's defeat should be interpreted by Washington as a wake-up call, said Weschler.

German Scientology News