UNITED STATES loses seat on U.N. Human Rights Commission

Thursday, May 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The United States was voted off of the U.N. Human Rights Commission on Thursday, the first time it has not held a seat on the world body's main human rights group since it was formed in 1947.

The 53-member commission, which usually meets in Geneva, makes recommendations for the protection and promotion of human rights, either on its own initiative or at the request of the General Assembly or the Security Council.

Regional groups at the United Nations nominate candidates for the commission and the United States came in last among the four candidates nominated for three seats in its group, after France, Austria and Sweden.

``It was an election, understandably, where we're very disappointed,'' said acting U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham. ``This won't at all, of course, affect our commitment to human rights issues in and outside of the United Nations. We'll continue to pursue them.''

Countries elected to the commission included Bahrain, South Korea and Pakistan from the Asia Group, and Croatia and Armenia from the Eastern Europe Group. The Latin America Group selected Chile and Mexico without a vote, and the African Group chose Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo and Uganda, also without a vote.

Asked whether it was awkward for the United States to have lost when Sudan had been chosen for a commission seat, Cunningham refused to comment.

``We're disappointed in the outcome. We very much wanted to serve on the commission. I'll leave it at that for the time being,'' he said.

Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the first U.S. representative on the commission, which is part of the U.N. Economic and Social Council.