03/1/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – The United States is seeking to return the United Nations Human Rights Council nearly three years after it was removed from the body by the Trump administration. In a message to the council, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the U.S. will seek election to the council for the 2022-24 term and reaffirmed “America’s commitment to respect and defend the human rights of all people, everywhere.”
The move is likely to draw criticism from the pro-Israel community and conservative lawmakers in the U.S. as the council has historically been accused of showing a bias against Israel, with a senior official claiming that the council passed more resolutions in 2018 condemning Israel than Iran, Syria, and North Korea combined. Secretary Blinken addressed this saying, “as the United States re-engages, we urge the Human Rights Council to look at how it conducts its business…[including] the disproportionate focus on Israel.”
Blinken also called on the council to reconsider membership of countries with the worst human rights abuses such as China, Cuba, and Venezuela. Many groups applauded the Trump administration for its criticism regarding the membership of human rights abusers on the council, something which Hillel Neuer, the executive director of advocacy group UN Watch, has called upon the Biden administration to continue. Secretary Blinken has expressed the Biden administration’s recognition of some of the criticisms against the council and has expressed the strong desire of the U.S. to help “address the Council’s deficiencies and ensue it lives up to its mandate.”
Elections to the council are set for October. The U.S. will initially participate in the council as an observer but will not automatically regain its seat. The October election by the 47-member body will determine if the U.S. regains full participatory rights within the council. A return to the council will hopefully signal to the world that the U.S. is serious about shining a light on and pursuing action against rights abusers worldwide.
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