H. R. 225
To withhold United States funding from the United Nations Human
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 4, 2007
Mr. STEARNS (for himself, Ms. WESTMORELAND, and Mrs. BLACKBURN) introduced
the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs
To withhold United States funding from the United Nations Human
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. FINDINGS.
(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:
(1) The new United Nations Human Rights Council fails to adequately reform
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, thus preventing the Council
from becoming an effective monitor of human rights throughout the world.
(2) The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was created in 1946
to monitor and prevent the abuse of human rights throughout the world.
It failed miserably to uphold even the most basic ideals enumerated in
the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
It lost its credibility as an instrument for the promotion and protection
of human rights and instead allowed repressive regimes to shield themselves
from criticism for their human rights violations.
(3) The membership of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights constituted
some of the worst abusers of human rights in the world, including the
tyrannies of Cuba, Sudan, Libya, Belarus, the People's Republic of China,
(4) The United Nations Commission on Human Rights failed to act or speak
out against numerous cases of egregious human rights abuses, including
the countless atrocities committed by communist regimes, the genocide
in Rwanda in 1994, and the ongoing genocide in Darfur caused by the Government
(5) The United Nations Commission on Human Rights failed to condemn countries
that sponsor terrorism (a glaring affront to human rights), including
Iran, Syria, and North Korea.
(6) The United Nations Commission on Human Rights had repeatedly vilified
Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, while overlooking horrific
human rights abuses throughout the Middle East. A recent study found that
30 percent of all country-specific resolutions of the Commission critical
of human rights have been directed at Israel, but none against persistent
violators like China, Myanmar, Syria, or Zimbabwe.
(7) Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan repeatedly emphasized
that meaningful reform of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
is a key element for making the United Nations more accountable, effective,
and efficient, and that `the Commission's declining credibility has cast
a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system'.
(8) The creation of the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 15,
2006, failed to address the serious shortcomings of the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights and fell far short of creating the small standing
body composed of appropriate countries that was initially envisioned by
Former Secretary General Annan, in his March 2005 report, `In Larger Freedom:
Towards Development, Security and Human Rights For All'.
(9) The United Nations Human Rights Council succeeds only in making superficial
changes to the structure of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights,
masquerading motion as reform and placebo as treatment.
(10) The United Nations Human Rights Council does not embody the recommended
institutional reforms necessary to advance human rights.
(11) The United Nations Human Rights Council cannot monitor cases of human
rights abuse throughout the world, nor even prevent egregious human rights
violators from being elected to the council itself. The only supposed
protection--that a country can be suspended if two-thirds of the members
of the General Assembly agree to do so--is useless, since less than half
of the General Assembly could agree that Sudan was guilty of any human
(12) The United Nations Human Rights Council only reduces the number of
seats on the council to 47 from 53, which is not enough to make the Council
more efficient or more effective.
(13) The United Nations Human Rights Council also retains geographical
quotas that will only ensure that human rights abusers will continue to
have access to membership on the council. Indeed, Israel, a constant target
of United Nations ire, had been discriminated against by being denied
full participatory rights in regional group meetings associated with the
operation of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, while non-members
of the United Nations, such as the Holy See and the Palestinian observer,
participated in such meetings. The geographic quota system ensures a majority
of membership slots for the world's least democratic regions.
(14) The United States, while voting against the resolution creating the
United Nations Human Rights Council, was unable to ensure that the Council
would be structured to best promote and protect human rights around the
(15) If the United States, working with other like-minded countries, is
not able to adequately reform the corrupt United Nations Human Rights
Council, then the chances for the United States and other like-minded
countries to effect the broader changes to the United Nations that are
desired and needed to make the institution more effective are much reduced.
(16) The first group of Member States elected to the new United Nations
Human Rights Council includes nine countries that the democracy watchdog
Freedom House designates as `not free', including the People's Republic
of China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Pakistan, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon,
SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) the United Nations Human Rights Council--
(A) should be a body that upholds the ideals enumerated in the United
Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights;
(B) should allow full participation by Israel in all operations associated
with the Council; and
(C) should be made up of countries that hold regular, competitive, and
democratic elections, allow for freedom of expression, and have a credible
civil society; and
(2) the United States should not support the United Nations Human Rights
Council, and should withhold any financial support for the Council until
meaningful reforms related to the responsibilities of the United Nations
for the protection of human rights are carried out.
SEC. 3. WITHHOLDING FUNDING FOR THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL.
(a) In General- The Secretary of State shall withhold from a United States
contribution to a regularly assessed biennial budget of the United Nations
an amount that is equal to the percentage of such contribution that the
Secretary determines would be allocated by the United Nations to support
the United Nations Human Rights Council.
(b) Effective Date- Subsection (a) shall take effect and apply beginning
on October 1, 2007, with respect to annual dues paid by the United States
to the United Nations each fiscal year in connection with United States
contributions to the regularly assessed biennial budgets of the United Nations.