US Responds to UN Human Rights Council Recommendations

The U.S. plans to implement  a “considered, interagency examination” of all 228 recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Council, says Harold Hongju Koh, legal adviser of the U.S. State Department.

A senior U.S. delegation presented the U.S. Universal Periodic Review at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva Nov. 5. The UPR is a review of each U.N. member state’s human rights record conducted every four years.

Koh said recommendations fall under 10 categories.

Recommendations on politics and pending judicial cases are actually “political criticisms” of U.S. policies, while recommendations on criminal justice concern the administration of capital punishment by those governments within our federal system that still apply it, according to Koh.

On human rights treaties, Koh said the Obama administration is working to secure Senate advice and consent particularly on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Most recommendations on national security tackle the U.S. government’s continuing armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and against al-Qaida.

“The Obama Administration abides by all applicable law in these armed conflicts, including laws respecting humane treatment, detention, and use of force. We defend the legality under the laws of war of using detention to remove adversaries from the conflict, but do not – and will not –countenance torture or inhumane treatment of detainees in our custody, wherever they are held,” Koh said.

Recommendations on discrimination; immigration; indigenous issues; freedom of expression and religion; economic, social and cultural rights; and domestic implementation of human rights were also put forward.

The U.S. will give its formal response on the UNHRC’s recommendations in March 2011, Koh said.

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  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.