Biden Administration Moves to Reengage with Controversial UN Human Rights Council

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Posted: Feb 08, 2021 8:45 AM
Biden Administration Moves to Reengage with Controversial UN Human Rights Council

Source: U.S. State Department via AP

The Biden administration will reengage with the controversial United Nations Human Rights Council, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said 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. “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.”

He continued: “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.”

The U.S. will not be a full member on its board initially, but will engage as an "observer," which "will allow the U.S. to speak with the council, partner with other nations to introduce resolutions and participate in negotiations," according to Politico. 

In light of the news, Hillel Neuer of UN Watch brought attention to the UNHRC’s condemnations since 2006, showing the body has overwhelmingly focused on Israel far more than any other country.

The Trump administration pulled out of the UNHRC in 2018 over its targeting of Israel, and because it failed to meet a list of reforms then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley asked, and had authoritarian countries as members, like China, Eritrea, and Venezuela. 

"I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from human rights commitments," Haley said at the time. "On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights."