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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > What the Secretary Has Been Saying > 2006 Secretary Rice's Remarks > April 2006: Secretary Rice's Remarks

U.S. Pledge on Human Rights Council Membership

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
April 13, 2006

The United States has pledged to support for membership in the Human Rights Council only those states that have a genuine commitment to Human Rights.

Following is the text of a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Foreign Ministers of other UN member states regarding the U.S. pledge to efforts to help ensure a Council committed to and effective in promoting fundamental freedoms and human rights.

Dear Mr./Madam Minister:

The United States remains committed to supporting the United Nations' historic mission to promote and protect the human rights of all the world's citizens. The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Community of Democracies' Final Warsaw Declaration of June 27, 2000, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, adopted in Lima, Peru, on September 11, 2001, recognize the inherent dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of every person. These include:

  • the right to choose their representatives through regular, free and fair elections based on secret balloting;
  • a pluralistic system of political parties;
  • freedom of expression, opinion, thought, conscience and religion;
  • freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention;
  • freedom from torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • a competent, independent and impartial judiciary;
  • government institutions that are transparent,
  • participatory and fully accountable to the citizenry,
  • including civilian control over the military;
  • a free civil society; and
  • an active and independent media.

The United States believes that the United Nations and its Member States have a critical role to play in advancing these rights, freedoms, and institutions. The United States will work cooperatively with other Member States to make the new UN Human Rights Council strong and effective. In particular, we must work to ensure that countries elected to the Council uphold the highest standards of human rights.

To help ensure a Council committed to and effective in promoting fundamental freedoms and human rights, the United States makes the following pledge:

In elections to the Human Rights Council, the United States commits to support those States with a genuine commitment to human rights.

The United States will not support the candidacies of states that systematically abuse human rights, including countries that are the subject of measures under Articles 41 and 42 of the UN Charter, where human rights abuses or sponsorship of terrorism are cited.

The United States welcomes similar commitments already made by some nations and urges other nations to undertake publicly such pledges, as a means of strengthening the Human Rights Council.

Sincerely,

Condoleezza Rice



Released on April 13, 2006

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