http://foreignaffairs.republicans.house.gov – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today at a hearing questioned Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew about U.S. participation in and funding of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican
CONTACT: Brad Goehner, (202) 226-8467, May 13, 2009 Alex Cruz, (202) 225-8200
For IMMEDIATE Release
Ros-Lehtinen Questions U.S. Participation, Funding of Anti-Israel, Anti-U.S. UN Human Rights Council Also Comments on U.S. Funding for UNRWA
“How could a Human Rights Council including the likes of Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia as full members possibly advance the cause of human rights? How is it worthy of U.S. participation and taxpayer dollars? How will it advance U.S. interests and values?
“Already, the false rhetoric equating U.S. behavior with that of the world’s worst human rights abusers has begun. We can only imagine what this rogues’ gallery has in store for the U.S. and Israel over the next three years.
“Likewise, how can the U.S. possibly claim that we are closely scrutinizing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency when we do not even condition our funding on that agency vetting its staff and personnel through U.S. watch lists for ties to Palestinian militant groups?
“Congress must ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly. Taxpayer money must not be wasted on an organization which works to undermine us and demonize strong U.S. allies like Israel.
“I am greatly disappointed that we are committing our country’s good name and our taxpayers’ money to this structurally corrupted body without seeking reform first.
Note: At Wednesday’s hearing, Deputy Secretary Lew later stated that the U.S. gives the troubled UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), to which the U.S. is the largest contributor, “the highest level of scrutiny.”
Background: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of The United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act (H.R. 557), which includes provisions restricting U.S. participation on the Human Rights Council and withholding funding to the UN proportionate to what is allocated for Council activities. It also withholds funding to UNRWA until that organization meets a number of conditions, including uprooting violent extremism and anti-Israel bias from within. The bill enjoys the support of over 85 cosponsors.