U.S. to Pursue New Term on UN-backed Human Rights Body Critical of Israel

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Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks to the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 2, 2015, in Geneva.Credit: AP

A top U.S. diplomat says the United States will seek another term on the Human Rights Council, a sign the Obama administration is looking past criticism from Republicans who say the UN-backed body coddles dictators and bashes Israel too much.

In a speech at the 47-member council in Geneva, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted U.S. concerns about the human rights records of countries including Russia, Egypt, Cuba and China, and accused the HRC of "persistent bias" against Israel.

Speaking to reporters afterward Wednesday, he criticized the North Korean government's "particularly abysmal" human rights record and "delusional refusal to confront the realities of what it is doing to its own people."

At the council Tuesday, North Korea's foreign minister expressed disregard for UN resolutions critical of its rights record.