Created in 2006, the U.N. Human Rights Council is approaching its fifth anniversary. While it has brought about some positive change, the Council too often becomes a polarizing battleground between those seeking to undermine the international system for human rights protection and those calling for greater scrutiny of the world’s most egregious human rights violations. For its part, the Obama administration has re-engaged at the Council and has facilitated some early successes, defending freedom of expression and extending the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sudan. In November, the United States will have another opportunity to reassert its leadership on human rights issues during the Universal Periodic Review session, a new process designed to increase international monitoring of all U.N. member states’ human rights records.
On February 16, the Managing Global Insecurity project and The Carter Center hosted a conversation on U.S. leadership at the Council, as it approaches its five-year review. A panel of human rights experts discussed how the United States and other leading member states can help improve the Council’s ability to promote and protect human rights around the world and how they should best approach the Council’s five-year review. Senior Fellow Ted Piccone, deputy director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. Harold Hongju Koh, legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State, provided opening remarks.
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