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Former UN Ambassador Bill Richardson Comments on UN Vote Against United States
Freedom House Chairman and former United States ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, is available for comment regarding last week's ouster of the United States from the UN Commission on Human Rights.
The vote follows the recent conclusion of the 57th session of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, at which the United States raised awareness of human rights abuses in countries such as Sudan, China, Vietnam, and Cuba. Sudan, which employs slavery and is responsible for a civil war in the country's south that has claimed 2 million lives, was elected to the Commission in yesterday's vote.
"This represents a terrible setback to the cause of democracy and freedom and should be reversed," said Mr. Richardson in an official statement. "The largest and most powerful voice for democracy in the world has been denied a seat at the table when issues of freedom are at stake."
"Last year over 100 democratic governments declared their support for the creation of a caucus of democracies at the United Nations. That caucus can be the basis for reclaiming and redirecting the UN so it truly furthers freedom and democracy," said Richardson. "The UN must not become, as it has through this vote, a tool of tyrants and states to deflect criticism of their human rights records."
"Freedom House, therefore, strongly supports international cooperation among democracies and we welcomed the creation of the Community of Democracies and the Warsaw Declaration on Democracy," said Richardson, referring to the deliberations of foreign ministers of more than 100 democratic countries in Poland in June 2000.
Freedom House, an organization accredited at the United Nations, is currently under attack by Cuba and Sudan who are seeking to strip it of its UN status. These countries, among other nations with dubious human rights records, sit on the UN NGO Committee in the Economic and Social Council.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.