US again refuses to run for UN rights council seat Gabriel Haboubi at 12:22 PM ET
[JURIST] The US State Department [official website] announced Tuesday that once again the United States will not run [press briefing transcript; video] for a seat on the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council [official website; JURIST news archive]. The US said last year that it would not seek election [JURIST report] because some of the other countries vying for council seats "systematically abuse human rights," but this year US officials cited an anti-Israeli bias as its reason for not running. Spokesman Sean McCormack said that the council has not proven itself to be a credible body, and has had a "nearly singular focus on issues related to Israel." When asked why the US didn't run and try to take a leadership role in the council, McCormack said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] thought it would be more effective to work outside the group as an example of what the Human Rights Council should be. Last year a number of observers speculated that if the US ran it risked an embarrassing loss or at least a visible lack of general support because of harsh US treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Iraq. The same concerns could apply again this year.
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