The United States has decided not to run for a seat on the new United Nations Human Rights Council this year.
A State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday that Washington may run next year. But he said that in the meantime, the U.S. will fund the council and work to make it strong.
The United States opposed the creation of the new human rights group, saying it did not ensure that governments abusing human rights would be excluded.
The State Department spokesman said Washington will back candidate nations that support human rights, and will actively campaign against states that do not.
He also said the U.S. will encourage the council to address abuse in countries such as Iran, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Burma, Sudan and North Korea.
The United States has been under criticism for its treatment of prisoners captured in Iraq and the so-called war on terror. There was some speculation it might not have gotten enough support to win a seat on the council if it had tried.
Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.