US Loses Seat at UN Human Rights Commission

Published May 4th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The United States, a vocal critic of human rights records of China and Cuba, lost its seat Thursday on the top UN rights body for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947, said Christian Science Monitor on Friday. 

The 53-member UN Human Rights Commission, which usually meets in Geneva, makes recommendations for the protection and promotion of human rights - either on its own initiative or at the request of the General Assembly or the Security Council.  

Regional groups at the United Nations nominate candidates for the commission, and the Western Europe and Others Group proposed four candidates for three seats: the United States, France, Austria and Sweden, said the reports. 

In the balloting, France got 52 votes, Austria 41 and Sweden 32 votes - edging out the United States with 29 votes.  

"It was an election, understandably, where we're very disappointed," acting US ambassador James Cunningham said after the vote. "This won't at all, of course, affect our commitment to human rights issues in and outside of the United Nations. We'll continue to pursue them.  

UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson expressed hope the United States "will return speedily as a member of the commission," spokesman Jose Luis Diaz said in a statement released in Geneva – 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (

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