By Dialogo May 15, 2009 Today the United States was chosen for the first time to be a member of the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), a body that monitors the human rights situation in the world and which up until now had been ignored by Washington. The UN General Assembly elected the U.S., Norway, and Belgium to fill three seats on the group of Western European and Other States, while Cuba, Mexico, and Uruguay succeeded in being re-elected to the Latin American and Caribbean bloc. These six countries had secured their election because they did not face any competition for the three seats available to each group. A similar situation occurred for the five seats for Asia, in which China, Bangladesh, and Jordan managed to be re-elected, while Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan were elected to be part of the body. Furthermore, in the group of Eastern Europe, Russia and Hungary managed to secure the two available places at Azerbaijan’s expense. In Africa, the other bloc with more candidates than open seats, Senegal, Nigeria, Mauritius, Djibouti, and Cameroon won more votes than Kenya. The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, was pleased by the support obtained in the General Assembly for Washington’s decision to “again play a meaningful leadership role in multilateral organizations.” “Although we know that the Human Rights Council is a flawed organization which has not complied fully with its mission, we intend to work with other countries to reform it from within,” said the diplomat at the end of the meeting. Rice said that the Council members are elected for terms of three years, and, therefore, the winners of these elections will have the opportunity to participate in the review of the body’s structure and procedures to be held in 2011. The administration of President George W. Bush flatly refused to participate in the HRC, which has its headquarters in Geneva, and voted against its creation in May 2006, considering it to be dominated by countries that violate human rights. The Mexican ambassador to the UN, Claude Heller, also welcomed the election of his country for another three-year term. The endorsement made in the General Assembly “confirms the important role that Mexico has played in the Human Rights Council and its strong commitment to human rights,” he added. The HRC was created on March 15, 2006 by the UN General Assembly to replace the Commission on Human Rights, which was abolished after 60 years of work due to the crisis of legitimacy that had risen due to decisions that were seen by as prejudiced, unbalanced and politicized. The Council is an intergovernmental body that is part of the United Nations system and is composed of 47 member states responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights in the world.
According to the Mueller Report, which was released in its entirety on Thursday, the FBI believes that Russian military intelligence officials hacked into a county election system somewhere in our state leading up to the 2016 election. However, the affected county is not specified.The report states, “We understand the FBI believes that this operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government. The (special counsel’s) office did not independently verify that belief and, as explained above, did not undertake the investigative steps that would have been necessary to do so.”Officials with the Florida Department of State say they have contacted the FBI in an effort to find out more information about the hacking.The Department issued a statement that reads, “Upon learning of the new information released in the Mueller report, the Department immediately reached out to the FBI to inquire which county may have been accessed, and they declined to share this information with us.”Wendy Sartory Link, Palm Beach County’s supervisor of elections, said her department was not hacked, comments that then-Supervisor Susan Bucher also made last year.Link says, “I’m not aware of anything. I’m told that, had it been us, our office would have been notified. We didn’t have any problems here, I’m told.”According to the Florida Department of State, “In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified the Department that Florida was unsuccessfully targeted by hackers in 2016. Since 2016, when elections were designated as critical infrastructure, state and local election officials in Florida have invested millions of dollars in election security. These investments, coupled with our strong partnerships with federal and state agencies, has made Florida one of the leading states in the country on election cyber security.” In addition, “In 2018, former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a letter to the Florida secretary of state that, ‘We have not seen new or ongoing compromises of state or local election infrastructure in Florida.’”Read Redacted Mueller Report Here