The United States has formally announced its intention to seek election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“Today, the administration took an important step in that direction by announcing the U.S. intent to seek election to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council starting in January 2022. The United States has long been a champion of human rights. If elected to the Human Rights Council, we will use the opportunity to be a leading voice within the Council for promoting respect for human rights,” he said in a statement.
Blinken noted that the Council has an “unacceptable bias against Israel,” which is a valuable U.S. ally, but acknowledged that improving relationships on the Council is of the utmost importance.
“However, improving the Council and advancing its critical work is best done with a seat at the table,” he said. “We seek to return to the Human Rights Council to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and partners to ensure that this important body lives up to its purpose. We do so with determination to listen, learn, and work toward a world in which human rights are universally respected.”
The Trump administration withdrew from the Human Rights Council in 2018. The United States joined Eritrea, North Korea, and Iran as the only nations not to participate in the Human Rights Council.
At the time, Nikki Haley, then the American ambassador to the United Nations, said the United States would extricate itself from the organization due to resolutions it had passed against Israel.
“Earlier this year, as it has in previous years, the Human Rights Council passed five resolutions against Israel — more than the number passed against North Korea, Iran and Syria combined,” she said. “This disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights.”
“If the Human Rights Council is going to attack countries that uphold human rights and shield countries that abuse human rights, then America should not provide it with any credibility,” she added.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.