This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.
In opting to seek membership on the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Obama administration is taking a calculated risk that this country will have stronger leverage on that flawed agency from within than by standing on the sidelines and criticizing. The Bush administration had refused to seek membership, for perfectly sound reasons. Now it is up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to show that the new approach will yield better results.
The performance of the Human Rights Council has been a sick joke. Instead of focusing on countries where human rights are being trampled daily by the likes of Sudan's Omar al–Bashir or Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe – not to mention Cuba's Fidel and Raul Castro – it has preferred to issue one–sided denunciations of Israel. Instead of doing its job, in other words, it has been derelict.
It would be nice to believe that the U.S. presence will suddenly give the 47–member council a genuine conscience, but the odds are against it. The United States can help to make U.N. agencies more effective, but the record of this particular council and the flaws in the membership system ensure a prolonged, uphill battle.
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