The United States has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the primary time for the reason that Trump administration give up the worldwide physique in 2018, citing what it known as “chronic bias” towards Israel.
The Department of State introduced on Tuesday that Washington gained a seat on the council for its subsequent time period, beginning in 2022.
“We will work hard to ensure the Council upholds its highest aspirations and better supports those fighting against injustice and tyranny around the world,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in an announcement.
The Biden administration introduced its intention to rejoin the Human Rights Council earlier this yr in a acknowledged push to undo a few of former President Donald Trump’s “America first” insurance policies, which noticed the US withdraw from a number of worldwide organisations.
The Human Rights Council has confronted bipartisan criticism within the US Congress over its studies and statements on Israeli abuses towards Palestinians.
But the Biden administration has argued that Washington would higher serve its pursuits by being on the desk of UN businesses to assist form the inner debate.
“The Council provides a forum where we can have open discussions about ways we and our partners can improve,” Blinken stated within the assertion on Thursday. “At the same time, it also suffers from serious flaws, including disproportionate attention on Israel and the membership of several states with egregious human rights records.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated Blinken’s message later within the day, saying the US would “vigorously oppose” the council’s deal with Israel. But he defended the choice to rejoin the UN physique.
“If we are to help shape institutions – to help them deliver on their highest aspirations, which is what we intend to do with the Human Rights Council, to help them promote the values, the interests that the United States and our partners share – we need to be there,” Price stated.
The Human Rights Council has 47 member states from throughout 5 geographic areas which are elected to three-year phrases by the UN General Assembly.
The Geneva-based physique was established by the UN in 2006 with the purpose of selling and defending human rights.
The Trump administration left the council three years in the past, with then-UN envoy Nikki Haley calling it a “hypocritical and self-serving organisation”.
The earlier administration additionally give up the UN cultural physique (UNESCO), the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization, amongst different worldwide businesses and treaties.
Blinken on Thursday framed the return to the Human Rights Council within the context of President Joe Biden’s effort to revive Washington’s international engagements.
“Since the earliest days of this Administration, President Biden has made clear that our foreign policy would be grounded in America’s most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms, respecting the rule of law and treating everyone with dignity,” Blinken stated.
However, some human rights defenders have criticised the administration, saying that it has not performed sufficient to carry US allies accountable for human rights abuses.
There had been no aggressive races on Thursday to elect 13 new members and re-elect 5 members of the Human Rights Council.
The General Assembly additionally elected Kazakhstan, Gambia, Benin, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Paraguay, Honduras, Luxembourg, Finland, Montenegro and Lithuania and re-elected Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia, India and Argentina on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch rebuked the shortage of competitors within the vote.
“The absence of competition in this year’s Human Rights Council vote makes a mockery of the word ‘election’,” Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, stated in an announcement.
“Electing serious rights abusers like Cameroon, Eritrea, and the UAE sends a terrible signal that UN member states aren’t serious about the council’s fundamental mission to protect human rights.”