The United States will rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council under the Biden administration alongside major human rights abusers such as China and Pakistan.
According to The Epoch Times, Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken conceded that the council “is a flawed body in need of reform,” but insisted that the United States’ decision to leave in 2018 “created a vacuum of U.S. leadership, which countries with authoritarian agendas have used to their advantage.”
“To address the Council’s deficiencies and ensure it lives up to its mandate, the United States must be at the table using the full weight of our diplomatic leadership,” Blinken added.
At this time, the United States can’t immediately rejoin as council members are announced once a year. In the meantime, the United States will engage with the council as an observer, participating in negotiations and working on introducing resolutions.
“It is our view that the best way to improve the Council is to engage with it and its members in a principled fashion. We strongly believe that when the United States engages constructively with the Council, in concert with our allies and friends, positive change is within reach,” Blinken continued.
“While recognizing the Council’s flaws, we know that this body has the potential to be an important forum for those fighting tyranny and injustice around the world,” Mark Cassayre, U.S. charge d’affaires at the US mission to the UN in Geneva, told reporters. “By being present at the table, we seek to ensure it can live up to that potential.”
While the Biden admin takes the approach of changing the council from within, President Trump withdrew the United States from the council nearly three years ago over its apparent hypocrisy being helmed by heads from some of the world’s worst human rights abusers, including China and Pakistan.
“The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights,” Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time. “Worse than that, the Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy, with many of the world’s worst human rights abuses going ignored and some of the world’s most serious offenders sitting on the council itself.”
The council is currently comprised of leaders from China, Bolivia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, France, Gabon, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.
While the council has been eager to harp on “inequalities” exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Epoch Times claims it has made “no mention of the Chinese Communist Party’s egregious human rights abuses, such as the widespread detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the brutal ongoing persecution of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong since 1999.”
Alleging that it “has failed to seriously advance the basic tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has instead bolstered some of the most oppressive regimes in the world,” a group of House Republicans has urged Biden not to rejoin the council. “The United States should not grant this body any further credibility with its membership.”
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