US to Join UN Human Rights Panel, Reversing Bush

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2009 6:29 PM CDT
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives at Schiphol Airport, Netherlands, Monday.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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(Newser) – In another reversal of Bush policy, the Obama administration said today it would seek to join the UN Human Rights Council. The US will participate in May elections for one of three open seats on the 3-year-old body, the Washington Post reports. Bushies declined to join, arguing that the council allowed in repressive nations, but Hillary Clinton said joining is imperative because "human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy."

Rights advocates hailed the move. "This is a welcome step that gives the United States and other defenders of human rights a fighting chance to make the institution more effective," said one. "I think everybody is just desperate to have the United States and Barack Obama run for the human rights council, and countries are willing to bend over backward to make that happen."