UN Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth issued the following statement on the United States’ decision not to seek election to the new United Nations Human Rights Council:
“The Bush Administration’s decision not to seek a seat for the United States on the new Human Rights Council is profoundly regrettable. The notion that America can improve the new Council by refusing to participate in it contradicts both common sense and history. Today’s decision runs contrary to America’s history of leadership on human rights, our numerous foreign policy interests, the encouragement of key U.S. allies, and the Administration’s pledge only a month ago ‘to make the Council as strong and effective as it can be.’
“To many, today’s decision will be interpreted as a signal of U.S withdrawal from organized efforts by the international community to promote human rights. In reaching this decision, the Administration ignored the advice of such distinguished leaders as Congressmen Henry Hyde, Tom Lantos and Chris Smith and Senators Richard Lugar, Joe Biden and Norm Coleman, who urged the United States to be engaged in the new Council and stand for election. Engagement, not retreat, from international deliberations on human rights is the way to advance human dignity and stop oppression around the world.
“Today, unfortunately, the Administration chose exactly the opposite and wrong path.