Samantha Power wants a fair, efficient UN

Samantha Power at a 2010 United Nations events in Geneva. The nominee for U.S. ambassador to United Nations aims to 'clean' the U.N.by ending corruption, legitimize Israel, and better protect whistleblowers. Photo by: Eric Bridiers / United States Mission Geneva / CC BY-ND

Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to United Nations, believes the world body should be fair, efficient and stand up for human rights.

If confirmed, she will see to it that the U.N. treats every country equally, cuts waste amid budget cuts and stresses human rights as a concern.

Power made these remarks and other observations about the world body’s flaws during her confirmation hearing on Wednesday and also called the Security Council’s failure to respond to the slaughter in Syria “a disgrace that History will judge harshly.”

“The United Nations must be fair,” the nominee told lawmakers in her opening statement. “The U.N. cannot focus disproportionate attention on a few, while giving a pass to others flouting their international obligations.”

Power cited how the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council continuously condemn Israel by passing “one-sided resolutions” and how the Security Council has “eluded” Israel.

“I commit to you wholeheartedly to go on offense as well as playing defense on the legitimation of Israel,” she told Senate foreign affairs committee chair Robert Menendez. The United States is one of the few countries that opposed the Palestinian Authority joining the world body as a non-member observer.

Power’s plans

Once she is confirmed, Power would like to do some house cleaning, especially as budget cuts threaten the work of the the United Nations. “The U.N. must become more efficient and effective,” she said.

She also wants to better protect whistleblowers and end corruption: “[This] means getting other countries to pay their fair share […] and closing down those missions and programs that no longer make sense.”

The United States, according to Power, should push worldwide for democratic elections and all the necessary freedoms to make democracy work.

“It means contesting the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela,” she said. “It means calling on the countries of the world to unite against human trafficking and against grotesque atrocities of the kind being carried out by the Assad regime.”

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    John Alliage Morales

    As a staff writer, John Alliage Morales covers the Americas, focusing on the world's top donor hub, Washington, and its aid community - from Capitol Hill to Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom to the downtown headquarters of USAID, the World Bank and Millennium Challenge Corp. Prior to joining Devex, Alliage worked for a variety of news outlets including GMA, the Philippine TV network, where he conducted interviews, analyzed data and produced in-depth stories on development and other topics.