ADL Commends U.S. Move Against Libya Chairing UN Human Rights Body; 'Shine a Spotlight on Human Rights Offenders, Don't Legitimize Them'
New York, N.Y., January 14, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended the Bush Administration's decision to oppose Libya's chairmanship of the world's foremost human rights body at its opening meeting in Geneva. The League called the proposed ratification of Libya's Chairmanship of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) "a stain on this year's session and on the legitimacy of the commission itself."
In praising the U.S. initiative, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Ratification of Libya's chairmanship will be a stain on this year's session, and on the legitimacy of the Commission itself. This body was founded in the ashes of the Holocaust to shine a spotlight on human rights offenders, not to legitimize them. The Commission will open its 59th session with Monday's one-day meeting to adopt its agenda and ratify the Chairmanship. The formal session will take place from March 17th - April 25th. U.S. officials have reached out to some of the 53 Member States of the Commission to vote with the U.S. against Libya. Libya's abysmal record on human rights has been well documented by the U.S. State Department as well as UN bodies such as the Human Rights Committee and the Committee Against Torture.
We commend America's moral clarity in speaking out against this travesty. As the US resumes membership in the Commission, this move is a resounding affirmation of the critical role that our nation can play in upholding its original mandate to champion democracy, freedom, and human dignity. We call on nations of conscience to follow America's lead in setting a standard for this session. All defenders of freedom have a stake in this vote -- this is nothing less than a fight for the relevance and credibility of the Commission.
This body, which repeatedly singles out Israel and fails to forcefully condemn nations like Cuba and China, has eroded its own moral standing over the years. On Monday, each nation will be faced with a choice in charting the course of this session and the future credibility of the UNCHR. Do they seek to uphold its mission or perpetuate it as a body which gives the world's worst human rights violators a platform to deflect criticism?
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.