The appearance of U.S. officials before the U.N. Human Rights Council for a review of the first U.S. human rights report exposed “significant gaps” in the country’s compliance with international human rights obligations, according to an international organization official who monitored the hearing in Geneva.

“U.S. engagement in this process is important,” said Devon Chaffee of Human Rights First. “But today’s review session highlighted significant gaps in U.S. compliance with its human rights obligations – gaps that undermine the principles and institutions that actually do work to protect rights in the United States.”

Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer led the U.S. delegation in presenting the country’s first Universal Periodic Review before the Geneva-based council. The review was conducted by the State Department to assess the U.S.’s human rights record.

It is part of the process established by the U.N. General Assembly in 2006 to assess the human right records of all 192 U.N. member states once every four years.

Chaffee shared that U.N. member states submitted questions, concerns and recommendations regarding the U.S.’s report.

On Nov. 9, the U.S. is expected to provide responses to the issues raised during the review. The U.N. human rights body will also prepare a report that outlines recommendations for how the U.S. can improve its human rights record and its compliance with international standards. Both documents, once they undergo edits, are scheduled to be adopted in March 2011.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.