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Letter


NTU Supports H.R. 5476, Withholding UN Funds

August 7, 2006

The Honorable Cliff Stearns
United States House of Representatives
2370 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Stearns:

On behalf of the 350,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to offer our support for your legislation, H.R. 5476, to withhold United States funding from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). NTU has many long-standing concerns regarding the financial backing and operation of the United Nations (UN), chief of which is sending hard-earned American dollars to fund an organization that is riddled with waste and corruption. By focusing on the UNHRC, your bill highlights one of the most egregious examples of UN mismanagement, and we agree that American taxpayers should not be forced to underwrite an entity that has repeatedly failed in its stated mission.

In 1946, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) was created to prevent human rights abuses, but it lost credibility among many in the international community who saw the body as flagrant in permitting violations to occur and go unpunished. Earlier in 2006, the UNHRC was created in an attempt to correct the flaws of the UNCHR; however, only minor reforms have been made. Among the continuing problems is sanctioning the membership of chronic human rights abusers (including Cuba, Tunisia, Russia, China, and Algeria) on the Council and allowing them to manipulate the organization as a shield against criticism of their own practices. Few can credibly argue that is a priority that taxpayers should support.

H.R. 5476 would withhold US funding of our UN dues at an amount equal to the US percentage (22%) of the UNHRC's cost. As the body's fiscal year 2007-2008 budget roughly equals $2,250,000, about $500,000 would thereby be withheld from UN coffers. This suspension of funds would send a clear signal to the UN that the United States will not stand for sham organizations that waste taxpayer money.

NTU supports efforts to pass H.R 5476, and we look forward to working closely with you to pass this important piece of legislation. Any roll call votes taken on H.R. 5476 will be included in NTU's annual Rating of Congress.

Sincerely,

Kristina Rasmussen
Senior Government Affairs Manager