Bush names Sauerbrey to U.N. rights commission

Longtime Md. legislator chaired his Md. campaign

March 13, 2001|By Karen Hosler | Karen Hosler,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON - Ellen R. Sauerbrey, who twice carried the Republican banner as an unsuccessful nominee for governor of Maryland, has been named by President Bush to serve on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Sauerbrey, 63, will leave Saturday for six weeks in Geneva, where the panel will hold its annual session to debate human rights, pass resolutions and issue recommendations to the United Nations. Topics include religious persecution and violence against women.

"It's going to be a great new experience," said Sauerbrey, one of five nondiplomatic members chosen by Bush to represent the United States at this year's meeting. The commission comprises 53 member nations.

A former teacher from Towson who served 16 years in the Maryland House of Delegates before her failed runs for governor in 1994 and 1998, Sauerbrey said she feels well-qualified to serve in what is essentially a political job in "a giant legislature."

Having been the Maryland House Republican leader for eight years, Sauerbrey said, she is familiar with the challenges of being in "a minority" and of working to try to bring people together.

She said she also gained a feel for the human issues that result from geopolitical struggles because her husband, Wilmer, came from a German family that was torn apart by the Cold War division of their country.

The U.N. job is partly a reward from Bush for Sauerbrey's service as chairman of his presidential campaign in Maryland. There is no salary, but all expenses for travel and living abroad are paid.

The work pace will be hectic, Sauerbrey said, so she will not take her husband along because she would have little time to spend with him.

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