September 6, 2007, 12:00 am ET - Amendment SA 2712 proposed by Senator Leahy for Senator Coleman.
September 6, 2007, 12:00 am ET - Amendment SA 2712 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.
Full Text of this Amendment
On page 410, between line 15 and 16, insert the following:
WITHHOLDING OF UNITED STATES CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Sec. 699B. (a) The Senate makes the following findings:
(1) The severe loss of credibility of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, whose members have included Libya, Sudan, and Cuba, led United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to remark in 2005 that the Human Rights Commission was ``casting a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole'' and to call for the creation of a new United Nations human rights institution.
(2) Calls for the reform of United Nations human rights institutions led to a proposal for a new Human Rights Council to replace the Human Rights Commission, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on March 15, 2006, in General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (2006).
(3) The United States voted against General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (2006) because the proposed structure of the Human Rights Council did not contain provisions designed to address the fundamental flaws of its predecessor body, such as a requirement that members of the Council be democracies that respect human rights.
(4) The United States chose not to run in the elections for membership in the Human Rights Council in 2006 and 2007 for fear that the Council would reflect the same patterns as the Human Rights Commission.
(5) The stated purpose of the Human Rights Council is to objectively and non-selectively promote and protect human rights in the entire world, and therefore in all 192 Member States of the United Nations.
(6) The Human Rights Council is composed of 47 members, 24 of which are considered ``free democracies'' by Freedom House in its 2007 ``Freedom in the World'' report.
(7) The current members of the Human Rights Council include countries such as Cuba, Angola, Azerbaijan, and Saudi Arabia.
(8) During the first year of operation of the Human Rights Council, which included 5 regular sessions and 4 special sessions, the only country in the world that was directly condemned as a violator of human rights was Israel.
(9) In its first year of operation, the Human Rights Council passed only 12 state-specific resolutions: 9 resolutions that condemned the Government of Israel, and 3 resolutions on Sudan that did not condemn the Government of Sudan.
(10) Freedom House lists 19 countries in its 2007 ``Freedom in the World'' report as the ``Worst of the Worst'' regimes that violate human rights, yet none of these countries has been the subject of a resolution by the Human Rights Council except for Sudan.
(11) During its first year, the Human Rights Council held 4 special sessions to address the most egregious and urgent human rights issues, with 3 sessions dedicated to Israel and 1 session dedicated to Sudan.
(12) The Human Rights Council special session on Sudan held in December 2006 resulted in the appointment of an assessment mission to Darfur led by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams, and this assessment mission submitted a report (referred to in this section as the ``Williams Report'') to the Human Rights Council in March 2007 that concluded that the Government of Sudan was responsible for ``large-scale international crimes in Darfur''.
(13) The Human Rights Council has not condemned the Government of Sudan in spite of the Williams Report and the numerous reports documenting the human rights violations of the Government of Sudan compiled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
(14) On June 19, 2007, the Human Rights Council adopted governing rules that further discredit the Council's operations, including--
(A) the establishment of only 1 country-specific permanent agenda item for the ``Program of Work'' on ``human rights violations and implications of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories'';
(B) the elimination of the mandates of the special investigators for human rights for Cuba and Belarus, despite extensive reporting by these investigators indicating that there are widespread, systematic violations of human rights taking place in both countries; and
(C) the adoption of measures that limit the independence of operations of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and hinder the ability of independent human rights investigators to report findings on human rights abuses.
(b)(1) No funds appropriated or otherwise made available by any Act for fiscal years 2008 or 2009 for contributions to international organizations may be made available to support the United Nations Human Rights Council.
(2) The prohibition under paragraph (1) shall not apply for a fiscal year if, during that fiscal year--
(A) the President determines and certifies to the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives that the provision of funds to support the United Nations Human Rights Council is in the national interest of the United States; or
(B) the United States is a member of the Human Rights Council.
(As printed in the Congressional Record for the Senate on Sep 6, 2007.)