Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Advancing U.S. Interests at the United Nations

The White House has released a document outlining US policy at the United Nations.

The Obama Administration hails the current “era of engagement” as successful in advancing US foreign policy objectives.

The US claims “concrete results” at the UN are due to US leadership, including the stiffest sanctions against Iran and North Korea, the mandate to intervene in Libya, the independence of South Sudan and initial progress in “improving the flawed UN Human Rights Council”.

Following are extracts:

“The Obama Administration has dramatically changed America’s course at the United Nations to advance our interests and values and help forge a more secure and prosperous world. We have repaired frayed relations with countries around the world. We have ended needless American isolation on a range of issues. And as a consequence, we have gotten strong cooperation on things that matter most to our national security interest.

What the President calls a “new era of engagement” has led to concrete results at the UN that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives and American security.

The dividends of U.S. leadership at the UN are tangible – the stiffest UN sanctions ever against Iran and North Korea, renewed momentum to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials, strong sanctions and an unprecedented mandate to intervene and save lives in Libya, support for the historic and peaceful independence of Southern Sudan, vital UN assistance in Afghanistan and Iraq, vigorous defense of our staunch ally Israel, lifesaving humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable in the Horn of Africa and initial progress in improving the flawed UN Human Rights Council.”

“In March, the United Nations took unprecedented quick and strong action to protect civilians in Libya. Resolution 1973 provided legal authority for the international community to intervene to save lives in Libya.

The resolution authorized states to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone, saving countless lives. The Security Council also imposed on the Qadhafi regime and on Libya’s major financial institutions a sweeping regime of financial sanctions and other measures to pressure the Qadhafi regime to end its brutal crackdown on demonstrators.

These measures helped to isolate the Qadhafi regime from the international financial system, restricting its ability to fund military operations and to maintain support in Tripoli.”

“On July 9, the Republic of South Sudan celebrated its independence. This action took place following months of intensified diplomatic efforts in the lead up to the historic, peaceful referendum on independence in January.

Much of this work was accomplished working within or alongside the United Nations, including last year’s high-level meeting at which President Obama delivered remarks to galvanize international action to ensure a credible and timely referendum.”

 “The United States continues to work to end genocide and conflict in Darfur, including by supporting the joint UN and African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), and calling for the Government of Sudan to end aerial bombardments, improve conditions and freedoms on the ground, and allow humanitarian access”

“The United States continues to lead efforts across the UN focused on women’s important roles in preventing, managing, and resolving conflict, as well as ending conflict-related sexual violence. In 2009, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presiding, the United States led the Security Council in unanimously adopting Resolution 1888, which strengthens the international response to sexual violence in conflict by establishing a dedicated UN Special Representative and creating of a team of experts to assist individual governments in strengthening their capacities to address sexual violence in conflicts within their borders.”

“At the beginning of the Obama Administration, the United States made the decision to join the Human Rights Council, and that decision has paid real dividends for oppressed people around the world. Though the Council remains flawed, the United States has worked tirelessly to create the political will necessary for the Council to realize its full potential.

While much work remains, in particular ending the Council’s excessive focus on Israel, the Council has taken great strides in speaking up for those suffering under the world’s cruelest regimes and focusing on the major human rights abuses worldwide.

In the past two years, the United States has spoken out on serious human rights abuses in Iran, Burma, Sudan, China, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, Russia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. With active U.S. leadership, the Council authorized international mandates to closely monitor and address the human rights situations in Iran, Libya, Syria, Ivory Coast, Burma, North Korea, Cambodia and Sudan.

With U.S. engagement, Council members also voted to keep Iran and Syria from gaining seats on the Council.

The United States also played a pivotal role in convening the Council’s Special Session in February 2011 during which the Council condemned the human rights violations and other acts of violence committed by the Government of Libya, and created an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate those violations. Additionally on March 1, 2011 the General Assembly unanimously suspended Libya from the Human Rights Council because of the atrocities the Libyan authorities are committing against its own people.

This was the first time that either the Human Rights Council or its predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, suspended any member state for gross violations of human rights.”