Ros-Lehtinen Bill Seeks to Stop Empowerment of Cuba, Other Repressive Regimes at UN Says U.S. Taxpayer Funds Should be Used to Promote Freedom, Not Benefit Tyrants

Monday, September 12, 2011

(WASHINGTON) - U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today that the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829), which she authored, and which conditions U.S. funding to the UN on concrete reform, will help end the era of rogue regimes like Cuba serving in leadership positions at the UN. By shifting most UN funding to a voluntary basis, the bill would allow the U.S. to stop sending money to UN entities such as the United Nations Human Rights Council, which includes Cuba, China, and other human rights violators as members. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Business-as-usual at the UN allows the most cruel, repressive, and dangerous regimes to hold positions of power and influence.

“Consider how Cuba is treated at the UN. Is the Castro regime held accountable for its gross human rights abuses and state-sponsorship of terrorism? No. Instead, it is given a seat on the Human Rights Council, and is selected as President of the Conference on Disarmament.

“But it’s not just the Castro brothers who get red carpet treatment. For example, former Sandinista leader Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann was elected as President of the UN General Assembly in 2008, and currently serves as a member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.

“I think we’ve all had enough of monsters and hooligans running the show at the UN. We need a UN that punishes these offenders instead of patting them on the back. We need real UN reform now, and using our financial contributions to the UN as leverage is the only effective way to move that failed organization in an honest direction.”

NOTE: In order to give the U.S. and other member states the leverage needed to press for concrete reform, Ros-Lehtinen’s bill seeks to fundamentally change the way in which the UN is funded. Currently, most UN activities (not including peacekeeping operations) are paid for through a general, all-purpose regular budget, funded through mandatory contributions from UN member states. However, some organizations, including UNICEF and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, are separately funded through voluntary contributions. Ros-Lehtinen’s bill makes it U.S. policy to pursue shifting the UN regular budget to a voluntary basis (rather than the current assessed basis). This change would allow the U.S. and other member states to choose what they fund at the UN, and what they do not.


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