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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The United States Government’s Relationship with the U.N. Human Rights Council

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 2:00pm
210 Cannon House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the United States government’s relationship with the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHR Council) is comprised of 47 member states whose representation is apportioned equitably among all geographic regions. The council was established in March 2006 as a successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which had been widely criticized for ineffectiveness and bias. The United States initially opposed the new body, doubting that any significant changes would come from a new structure. The U.S. government announced that it would not seek a seat on the council, and that its engagement with and funding for the council would be limited. In 2009, however, the U.S. government decided to run for a seat on the council, won the election, and joined the council that May. Since then, the U.S. government has actively advanced its human rights agenda at the council as well as challenged and mitigated the entity’s shortcomings.

This hearing will examine the current interaction between the U.S. government and the UNHR Council. Both U.S. government and NGO witnesses will outline successes, identify problems, and propose solutions to advance U.S. human rights and foreign policy interests at the UNHR Council.

If you have any questions, please contact Colleen Costello (Rep. McGovern) or Wendy Sneff (Rep. Wolf) at 202-225-3599, or send an email to

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Frank R. Wolf, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Panel I

  • Suzanne Nossel, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State
    Written testimony
  • Dan Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State
    Written testimony

Panel II

  • Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow and Deputy Directory, Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution
    Written testimony
  • Peggy Hicks, Global Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
    Written testimony
112th Congress