Media coverage of the UN Universal Periodic Review of the US has focused on the criticisms from countries that have poor human rights records. But there's been very little mention of the recommendations from democracies. Here's what the governments the US works alongside to promote global human rights said:
CANADA: "Canada encourages the United States to continue its efforts to realize universal human rights by: (a) ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; (b) becoming a Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; (c) acceding to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and (d) ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We would appreciate any further detailed updates on the consideration of these issues and steps to bring domestic legislation in line with U.S. international obligations. Canada is pleased by the active re-engagement in the Human Rights Council by the United States and looks forward to working together in the promotion and protection of human rights internationally."
IRELAND: "... We recommend that the US halt all transfers of detainees to third countries unless there are adequate safeguards to ensure that they will be treated in accordance with international law requirements.... We strongly recommend that the United States proceed with the closure of Guantanamo at the earliest date and bring to trial promptly in accordance with the applicable rules of international law the detainees held there or release them.... Ireland asks whether the United States intends to proceed to the introduction of a nationwide moratorium on the death penalty..."
ITALY: "Recommends the adoption of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing capital punishment.... Will the US consider to accede or ratify the following human rights and other instruments: the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court."
AUSTRALIA: "Abolish the death penalty.... comprehensively address discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity... become a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."
ISRAEL: "We welcome the candid and professional engagement of the United States in this exercise and their constructive review of their human rights record.... We welcome the intense efforts by the United States to undertake all necessary measures to ensure fair and equal treatment for all persons, without regard to sex, race, religion, color, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and encourage further steps in this regard.... asking the delegation to further elaborate on the U.S. experience in human rights education."
And on it goes... Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, all welcomed US participation in the UPR process and made similar comments and recommendations.
The full report will be published tomorrow and the US will go back to the Human Rights Council in 2011 to declare which recommendations the government accepts and which it does not. One hopes that the recommendations from other democracies will be taken seriously.