Don’t just blame the Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council’s failure to pass a resolution authorizing a commission of inquiry in Sri Lanka was, as we’ve already stressed, deeply disappointing.  The 29 countries that voted for Sri Lanka’s own proposed resolution are undeniably guilty of letting the fox control the henhouse.  But as the Guardian‘s Julian Borger reports, the lackluster efforts of Western countries to pass a stronger resolution should not be overlooked:

A European diplomat admitted that if EU states had been more organised they might have put forward a more critical resolution that could have been accepted by the council.

This is the sad — but by no means insurmountable — fact of the Human Rights Council; there will always be countries who vote to protect repressive regimes, or to ward off human rights investigations out of a concern for their own poor records.  It will always be an uphill climb to ensure that the Council makes investigating all human rights violations a priority.  But this doesn’t make the climb any less worthwhile; when the United States formally joins its Western counterparts on the Council, it should work tirelessly to make the Human Rights Council the most effective body it can be.  A lack of organization is not an excuse when the rights of so many human beings are at stake.