U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, has re-introduced the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2013. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"As the General Assembly of the United Nations begins to meet this week, it's important to highlight the much needed reforms at that deeply flawed institution. The UN was intended to advance human rights and international peace and security but has continually failed to live up to its obligations. Unfortunately, the current UN has become infected by scandals, gross mismanagement, inaction, and is frequently hijacked by rogue regimes that protect each other while targeting free democracies like the U.S. and Israel.
This is why I have re-introduced the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act, which would change the funding mechanism for American taxpayer dollars going to the UN. The only way for the U.S. to effect any real and substantive reforms at the UN is to leverage our contributions to that broken system. Instead of an assessed contributions method, we should shift our contributions to a voluntary basis. This change would allow the U.S. and other countries to choose what they fund at the UN, incentivize UN entities to be more transparent and effective, and would cut off contributions to any UN entity which upgrades the status of the Palestinian mission to the UN.
Some of the UN bodies, such as the Human Rights Council, have unfairly singled out Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, while disregarding the blatant human rights violations committed by member countries of that same council. When gross violators of human rights like Cuba, a State Sponsor of Terrorism, can sit on the Human Rights Council, and Iran -- a regime that is subject of UN Security Council sanctions for proliferation -- can chair the disarmament conference, something drastic needs to be done.
In light of a still recovering U.S. economy and with some areas devastated due to floods and wild fires, every penny needs to be spent wisely. We cannot afford to throw hard earned American taxpayer dollars at forces working against our interests at the UN, and the time has come to finally change this flawed institution back into a constructive, more democratic-friendly organization."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen was the author of H.R. 2829, the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011. This legislation had over 140 cosponsors, and was marked up and reported favorably by the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Congress. The bill gives the UN two years after the bill's enactment date to phase in funding reform before the U.S. is required to withhold funds.