U.S. Commitment to Human Rights

Posted by Suzanne Nossel
November 5, 2010
Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer Speaks at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

About the Author: Suzanne Nossel serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs.

On Friday, November 5, the United States made history when we participated in our first Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council. The review was marked by positive engagement from other governments and domestic and international civil society. Led by the State Department, the U.S. delegation was comprised of senior officials from eleven U.S. departments and agencies, a representative of local authorities, and two advisers from civil society groups. The UPR consultation process, U.S. report, and Friday's presentation are a reflection of the depth of our national commitment to human rights at home and complemented by the deep commitment from President Obama and Secretary Clinton to multilateral engagement, human rights, and the rule of law.

The United States is proud of its human rights record, and is pleased to lead by example in conducting the UPR with honesty, transparency, and self-scrutiny. As the U.S. report acknowledges, though we are proud of our achievements, we will continue to work to ensure that our laws are fair and justly implemented, and to foster a society in which people are empowered to enjoy their rights. The United States is not perfect. We acknowledge imperfections and injustices to discuss and debate them, and are pleased to seriously engage with civil society on difficult questions.

Civil society engagement was a hallmark of the UPR consultation process in the United States, and we brought this commitment with us to Geneva. Following the official session, the United States hosted a town hall meeting to engage with civil society leaders. The discussion was substantive, and the U.S. delegation engaged honestly on in-depth and hard-hitting questions from NGOs from the United States and around the world. While these conversations are not always easy, we particularly encourage critical questions from U.S. NGOs, those who know our country and are close to its issues on the ground. We cannot respond to every idea raised in hundreds of conversations or debated in the blogosphere, but we welcome the opportunity to talk with thoughtful interlocutors in a constructive dialogue.

We hope that other governments will display a similar depth of engagement with civil society in the UPR process, to expand citizens' voices in advancing human rights around the world. Domestic NGOs, too, echoed appreciation of the town hall meeting. "Congratulations to the U.S. delegation. We are proud that the U.S. is the first delegation to offer this kind of open discussion," said Karin Ryan, Director of the Human Rights Program at the Carter Center.

We in the United States government have approached the UPR process with a seriousness of purpose and a commitment to engage genuinely with comments and questions raised in good faith. We hope that this effort of transparency will be adopted by other nations as they, too, make history.



Joseph G.
November 6, 2010

Joseph G. in New York writes:

16 year old Mona Mahmoud nezad's essay before execution

Max R.
California, USA
November 6, 2010

Max R. in California writes:

Enough is Enough
Rise up
Free Iran
United we Stand

Azika K.
Louisiana, USA
November 6, 2010

Azika K. in California writes:

The light of the fact that the Secretary of State, Ms. Hillary Clinton, send a happy birthday message to the president select of the islamic republic, and the fact that the US stands silent when thousands of young Iranians are butchered, stoned and raped by the islamic republic's government we as Iranians question the veracity of this statement.

Furthermore, considering the total lack of respect for the human rights in general and women's rights in particular, we welcome the US government's efforts in preventing the islamic republic from heading the UN women's right agency! The islamic republic should not even be allowed to participate in this agency, as its membership would be a slap on the face of women around the world!

Long live free, democratic and secular Iran!

Nader A.
California, USA
November 6, 2010

Nader A. in California writes:

If America concentrates on Human Rights in Iran , we can put a democratic law abiding governmenmt in place that will not interfere in the peace process. Also will not sponsor Hamas ,hezbollah and the Shia militia's in Iraq.
Also u will not have to worry about wrong people having access to nucleur technology.

Saeed N.
California, USA
November 6, 2010

Saeed N. in California writes:

Enough is Enough
Global solidarity with Iranian people 10-28-2010
United we stand for peace and freedom of Iranian
No to Governemnt of terror in Iran

-Iran P.
November 6, 2010

Iran P. in Canada writes:

To the honorable government of USA to tack necessary action on human rights on Iran _ Thanks

Shohreh G.
California, USA
November 6, 2010

Shohreh G. in California writes:

There are 600 people waiting in line to be executed in IRAN as of right now.

Brad B.
November 6, 2010

Brad B. in Canada writes:

For a country to strive at self improvement in the field of human rights is admirable.

Asking for the criticism of the world's worst human rights abusers is insane. When you are the bastion of western civilization, it is criminally insane.

Wake up America! Freedom loving people everywhere rely on you and you are wilfully letting us down.

Jackie E.
Colorado, USA
November 6, 2010

Jackie E. in Colorado writes:

I think that this is comming a tad bit too late...but I admire that there is someone atleast trying. If you want to talk Human Rights now, I say get stop providing I$rael with billions worth of high tech military weaponry as they are misusing it to demolish men, women and children alike, all for this so called "promised land". --NO Do you REALLY want to open this subject????????? I don't think so. Unless you're willing to have the Marines go in and take all of those AIPAC IDF criminals to Gitmo.....They've already done all they can to convince that we need to go to war now with IRAN...who's next on their destroy list in the Middle-East????

Mahin P.
Illinois, USA
November 6, 2010

Mahin P. in Illinois writes:

Does this commitment apply to Iran?

New Mexico, USA
November 7, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well folks, if you boil human rights down to a human equasion that defines the human condition as; "A state of being relative to the mental and physical health the observer is in.", whereby the observer begets the event horizon... that general theory of relativity looks a lot like this;


Where Empathy = Mankind's Commonality squared.

And thus the sum empathetic interaction becomes greater than the particulate matter involved. Spreading understanding, tolerance and peace.

Go figure...terrorists conversly manifest the absence of empathy thus becoming their own black hole of a desparaging singularity that sucks a lot of minds into oblivion.

You can try this at home. Or simply observe duality in motion in the world around you.

Cook it up in your kitchen, build a better "smart bomb", and drop this weapon of mass deduction on your entire neighborhood at the speed of thought.

A terrorist has to instil terror to create his will, but all you have to do is smile at a stranger...to manifest empathy and square the commonality.

And as Dipnote seems to be a long range delivery vehical with intercontinental range, the chances of unleashing a global pandemic are pretty good depending on the transmission rate of infection, mass density of individual particulate intersections, creating an attitudinal EMP(Empathetic Mass Pandemonium) burst resulting in grins and giggles world wide.

And so my friends, you now have in your hands...THE CURE FOR POLITICAL STUPIDITY.

Use it wisely.

November 8, 2010

Irtaza in Pakistan writes:

Dear Suzanne Nossel,
The commitment of America to human rights is admirable. Whoever raises voice for the oppressed, We laud it. No doubt the USA is champion and the biggest advocate of human rights in the world.
But I can't understand what happens to the champions of this cause, when they have to say something on crimes of India and Israel against humanity. I agree with Jackie E.
Her point is valid. End dual standards while dealing with different nations and treat all even-handedly. It's the only way to become a unanimously acknowledged human rights leader of the world. Otherwise slogans like "U.S Commitment to Human Rights" will always remain mere claims.

California, USA
November 9, 2010

Saeed in California writes:

President Obama:please Blockade terrorist rgime in Iran. They are killing everyone!!!


Latest Stories