US to spearhead UN reform

2012-01-21 08:30
New York - The United States said on Friday it would spearhead a campaign to promote competitive elections for the UN Human Rights Council to keep rights violators like Cuba from winning seats as part of a new effort to reform the United Nations.

Joseph Torsella, the US ambassador for UN management and reform, said members of the organisation's top human rights body should be held to the same standard it promotes around the world.

"Abusers of international law or norms should not be the public face of the UN" he said.

The proposed reforms come as the US presidential campaign heats up.

Many of the UN's operations, its resolutions criticising Israel, and the membership of the Human Rights Council have come under attack from some Republicans, especially Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Relations Commission.

Currently, elections to the Human Rights Council and many other UN bodies are controlled by regional groups that often put forward uncontested slates.

In 2010, seven countries accused of human rights violations, including Libya, Angola and Malaysia, won seats on the Human Rights Council in uncontested elections. In 2011, Syria was a candidate for an uncontested Asian seat, but it withdrew after the U.S. and the European Union lobbied UN members against voting "yes" for a country that was cracking down on civilian protesters.

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, sent to UN correspondents, Torsella said the US also plans to take action against countries that violate international law elsewhere in the UN system.

"If a member state is under Security Council sanction for weapons proliferation or massive human rights abuses, it should be barred, plain and simple, from leadership roles like chairmanships in UN bodies," he said.

Torsella said the size and scope of the UN has grown dramatically since the world body was established in 1945, but that the UN "is still, in too many ways, stuck around 1950".

While the UN's regular two-year operating budget for 2010-2011 ended at $5.41bn, he said, when all the agencies in UN system are included it is now a $36bn enterprise - larger than the individual GDPs of half its 193 member states.
Read more on:    un  |  us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.