United Nations The United States said Thursday it will not seek a seat on the new U.N. Human Rights Council this year, a decision that drew strong criticism from rights groups and members of Congress.
The United States was virtually alone among the 191 U.N. member states in opposing the 47-nation council's creation last month. State Department officials said the U.S. would wait until next year before pursuing a seat.
People with knowledge of the decision-making process that led to Thursday's announcement said the Bush administration, criticized for alleged abuses in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, also feared it would not get the necessary 96 votes to win a seat.
U.S. officials had raised the possibility of U.S. defeat during a confidential U.S. National Security Council meeting earlier this week, said one person who was at the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the closed session.
Human rights groups criticized the decision, noting the United States had long worked with the discredited Commission on Human Rights, the body the council replaced.