17 Feb Maybe Joining the UN Human Rights Council is Paying Off
Conservatives and human rights groups have rightly pummeled the new UN Human Rights Council as a deeply problematic institution, characterized by a strange obsession with Israel. But the Obama Administration joined anyway, despite criticism, and they won a small payoff this week in Geneva. The HRC finally got tough (well, at least they focused on) someone other than Israel. The target on Monday? Iran. The NYT reports:
Michael H. Posner, an assistant secretary of state, told the council that since disputed presidential elections in June, Iran had suppressed the protests of millions of Iranians, “often resorting to violence,” resulting in detentions, injuries and deaths. Mr. Posner, the top United States official for human rights, also condemned growing restrictions on freedom of expression and called for immediate action by Iran to end torture.
The benefit to the HRC going after Iran instead of the US alone going after Iran is obvious. The downside of course is that the UN HRC won’t do much (it can’t), and it may well elect Iran to its membership next year. But for the time being, this is a useful forum to convince third-parties (read: Canadian and European allies) that Iran deserves isolation and censure. Unfortunately, I doubt it will make a difference to Russia and China. But it is a (small) achievement of the new Obama policy and deserves to be recognized as such.