The Biden administration will return the United States to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.
“The @UN Human Rights Council is flawed and needs reform, but walking away won’t fix it. The best way to improve the Council, so it can achieve its potential, is through robust and principled U.S. leadership. Under @POTUS Biden, we are reengaging and ready to lead,” he tweeted.
Blinken added, “When it works well, the @UN Human Rights Council shines a spotlight on countries with the worst human rights records and can serve as a beacon for those fighting against injustice and tyranny. That’s why the U.S. is back at the table.”
“When we work closely with our allies and friends, we are able to call countries with the worst human rights records to account in the @UN Human Rights Council. U.S. leadership matters,” he stated.
President Trump withdrew the United States from the UNHRC in 2018 over its anti-Israel bias. According to the Associated Press, Israel “received by far the largest number of critical council resolutions against any country.”
“In addition to the council’s persistent focus on Israel, the Trump administration took issue with the body’s membership, which currently includes China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia, and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses,” the AP reported.
In 2017, Vice President Mike Pence addressed problems with the UNHRC to the UN Security Council:
The Human Rights Council doesn’t deserve its name. … Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council actually attracts and welcomes many of the worst human rights violators in the world. A clear majority of the Human Rights Council’s members fail to meet even the most basic human rights standards. Cuba sits on the Human Rights Council, an oppressive regime that has repressed its people and jailed political opponents for more than half a century. Venezuela sits on the Human Rights Council, a dictatorship that undermines democracy at every turn, imprisons political opponents, and as we speak is advancing policies that worsen deprivation and poverty that’s costing the lives of innocent men, women, and children.
This body must reform the Human Rights Council’s membership and its operation. As to its operation, I think of what President John F. Kennedy warned more than 50 years ago, that the United Nations must not become in his words a “forum for invective.”
Unfortunately, today, the Human Rights Council has become exactly that, and particularly the Human Rights Council has become a forum for anti-Semitism and invective against Israel. The council’s agenda item seven actually singles out Israel for discussion at every single meeting, something no other country must endure. As evidence, the Human Rights Council has passed more than 70 resolutions condemning Israel, while largely ignoring the world’s worst human rights abusers.