Rep. Ros-Lehtinen says US should leave UN Human Rights Council

Ros-Lehtinen said in her op-ed that her new bill would draw on four "lessons learned" in recent experience with the U.N. One of these lessons is that the U.S. should not settle for "cosmetic changes" — and on this point, she criticized supposed reforms of the Human Rights Council by saying it is a home to countries like Libya, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other "human rights abusers."

"We should finally leave the Council and explore credible, alternative forums to advance human rights," Ros-Lehtinen wrote. It's unclear whether her new bill would call for the U.S. to leave the council; her 2007 bill would have withheld U.S. contributions to the Human Rights Council unless the secretary of State certified that no countries with a record of human-rights abuse is a member.

Another "lessons learned" is that "money talks." Ros-Lehtinen said the U.S. pays far too much to the Unite Nations and lets other countries that make negligible contributions that drive the U.N. agenda in ways that are contrary to U.S. goals. She added that withholding funds has worked before as a way to force reform at the U.N., and said more broadly that contributions need to be voluntary.

"That way, Americans, not UN bureaucrats or other countries, will determine how much taxpayer dollars are spent on the UN, and where they go," she wrote. "We should only pay for UN programs and activities that advance our interests and our values. If other countries want different things to be funded, they can pay for it themselves."

Ros-Lehtinen also criticized the lack of leadership at the U.N., and said the U.S. "should not be afraid to stand up for our values and interests, even if that means standing alone — though we should reach out for other responsible nations to join us."

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