Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force Holds Private Briefing with Permanent U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council

September 6, 2012
Felice Gaer, Chair, United Nations Association of the USA’s (UNA-USA) Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force, and Ryan Kaminski, UNA-USA Leo Nevas Human Rights Fellow, made the following statement following a briefing with U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council Amb. Eileen Donahoe. The Task Force, an advisory group of 13 distinguished citizens, established by UNA-USA in 2007, is vitally concerned about international human rights and the role of the UN and the U.S. in protecting those rights. 

“UNA-USA’s Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force was honored to have a private-briefing  with Amb. Eileen Donahoe, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“The Task Force is convinced that positive U.S. engagement with the UN’s premier intergovernmental human rights organ, the Human Rights Council advances the protection of beleaguered individuals worldwide, and prevents destruction and distortion of the human rights guarantees that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has promised every person, no matter where he or she lives.

“Amb. Donahoe painted a clear picture of both accomplishments and challenges related to the Human Rights Council. This included addressing a wide range of issues that are U.S. priorities for the Human Rights Council’s upcoming 21st session in Geneva next week.  The ambassador discussed questions raised by members of the Task Force on possible upcoming Council action related to Sudan, Syria, press freedom, LGBT rights, as well as the special role that civil society and nongovernmental organizations play in the promotion and protection of human rights. She was asked about the U.S. effort to be elected to a new three-year term on the Human Rights Council and expressed strong support for this endeavor, pointing to the significant impact U.S. presence has had at the Council. A consistent theme during the meeting was how U.S. leadership has played a key role in helping the Human Rights Council carry out its critical mission, and that despite challenges and shortcomings, much progress has been made. This includes bringing pressure to bear on some of the world’s most serious human rights violators such as Belarus, Sudan, Syria, Sri Lanka, and North Korea, all of which have been the subject of country-specific resolutions, and in many cases, on-site investigations.  The Council has also broken fresh ground on ways to correct critical human rights problems affecting millions of women, men, and children around the world.

“Overall, Ambassador Donahoe’s words served as an important reminder that the United States needs to remain engaged with the HRC as well as the stakes involved as the United States pursues a second term on the Council. 

“As we approach November, when the UN General Assembly will hold elections for the Human Rights Council, the Task Force reiterates its clear view that the United States should commit robust political and diplomatic resources to ensure its re-election.  The United States and the world have much to accomplish to advance universal human rights and the UN has been a central player in those efforts.”


Labels: Advocacy

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