Gingrich-Mitchell Task Force On UN Reform

People Within Own Borders From Genocide
Institute Directed Task Force Releases Report on UN

WASHINGTON – In a report released today, the Task Force on the United Nations recommends that the U.S. government endorse and call upon the UN and its members to “affirm a responsibility of every sovereign government to protect its own citizenry and those within its borders from genocide, mass killing, and massive and sustained human rights violations.” The report adds that the “United States should insist that states asserting an absolutist doctrine of non-intervention explain why they are preventing action against the world’s genocidaires.”

The 12-member bipartisan task force, chaired by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, calls for abolition of the current UN Human Rights Commission, and establishment of a new Human Rights Council, ideally composed of democracies and dedicated to monitoring, promoting, and enforcing human rights.

The report notes that without a renewed and more effective United Nations, the challenges to international security, development and, well being will be all the greater.  The bipartisan task force, comprised of prominent experts, distinguished practitioners, and business leaders representing a wide range of opinion, issued its consensus report, “in the firm belief that an effective UN is in American interests.”

With a President and Congress united in their desire to advance our national interests, the United Nations can be led to meet more completely the lofty goals of its charter, says the task force.  Both the Bush Administration and the U.S. Congress are keenly focused on the UN reform process.  The report concludes that U.S. leadership will be essential to bringing about meaningful reform and adds that a successful effort will “require bipartisanship in Washington’s approach to the United Nations.”   

Mandated by Congress in the FY2005 omnibus appropriations bill at the behest of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), the report offers an actionable American agenda for strengthening the United Nations. The full report is available online.

Other report recommendations include:

  • Providing immediate U.S support for initiatives to halt the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, including the assembly of a U.S. coordinated package of assistance for African Union deployment in Darfur that will serve as a force multiplier, and support for establishment of a no-fly-zone.
  • Addressing urgently needed internal UN management reform by:
    • establishing a single, very senior official in charge of daily operations and filling the role of Chief Operating Officer;
    • empowering the Secretary General to replace his or her top officials;
    • creating an Independent Oversight Board that has the audit powers to prevent another scandal like Oil-for-Food.
  • Increasing support substantially for the effort to bring developing nations out of poverty as a global priority, including government-to-government assistance, and private investment, including the legal, political and economic infrastructure that will allow such aid and investment to flourish.
  • Implementing quickly a UN policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers.
  • Adopting in the General Assembly a definition of terrorism and passing a comprehensive convention condemning all forms of terrorism.

Congress established the Task Force on the United Nations in December 2004 to assess reforms that would enable the UN to better meet the goals of its 1945 charter.  Congress directed that the study address obstacles to achieving such goals, especially maintaining international peace and security and promoting universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  The task force will discuss its findings with Congress in a hearing of the Science, State, Commerce and Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, to be chaired by Rep. Wolf on Wednesday, June 22 at 10:00 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn House Office Building.

In addition to the co-chairs, ten other distinguished Americans served on the task force and contributed to the report. They are:

  • Gen. Wesley K. Clark (USA, Ret.) -- Wesley K. Clark and Associates
  • Edwin J. Feulner -- The Heritage Foundation
  • Roderick Hills -- Hills and Stern
  • Ambassador Donald McHenry -- Georgetown University
  • Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering -- The Boeing Company
  • Danielle Pletka -- American Enterprise Institute
  • Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter -- Princeton University
  • Dr. A. Michael Spence -- Oak Hill Capital Partners
  • Senator Malcolm Wallop -- Frontiers of Freedom
  • R. James Woolsey -- Booz, Allen, Hamilton

Gen. Charles Boyd (USAF, Ret.) of Business Executives for National Security and J. Robinson West of PFC Energy served as Senior Advisors to the task force.

At the request of Congress, the U.S. Institute of Peace coordinated the task force with the support and participation of leading experts drawn from public policy organizations, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Heritage Foundation, and the Hoover Institution. Background information on the experts is available online.

For additional information about the report, the task force, or the Institute of Peace, please contact Kay King, the Institute’s Director of Congressional and Public Affairs, at (202) 429-3832 or publicaffairs@usip.org or visit the Institute’s website at www.usip.org.  For additional information about the June 22 hearing, please contact Dan Scandling in the Office of Congressman Frank Wolf at (202) 225-5136.

June 15, 2005