U.S. Pulling Out of U.N. Human Rights Council

Following a 120-8 vote by the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn Israel over the violence in Gaza, the president of the United States announced that he would be pulling out of the council.

Yes, you read that correctly. The United States is leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council because our government does not believe that Israel should be criticized for killing over 100 protesters and injuring another 14,000.

Per usual, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is at the center of the debacle, having accused the Human Rights Council (HRC) of “chronic anti-Israel bias.”

While Haley’s accusations may be questionable, she does in fact stand on solid ground when criticizing the council as a whole.

The previous version of the council, the Commission on Human Rights, was disbanded in 2006 due to blatant ethical violations, such as allowing despot Muammar Qaddafi to lead the assembly.

Many current members of the HRC have records of human rights abuses that would send chills down your spine — just take Rwanda, Ethiopia, or Saudi Arabia as a few examples.

And although the U.N. General Assembly does have the power to, by a two-thirds majority, expel any member who has committed human rights violations, that power is rarely used.

Despite the many failures of the HRC, and there are many, even Israel at this point is encouraging the United States to remain.

While there may be issues with the council, it has always been stronger when the U.S. was involved.

And yet, this isn’t the first time the United States has threatened to or has actually left the council.

Under the George W Bush administration, the United States pulled out of the council for three whole years, only rejoining once President Barack Obama was elected.

Despite the optics of the decision, many support the withdrawal, calling the HRC “broken beyond repair.”

“Continued U.S. membership in the HRC merely legitimizes HRC’s global human rights grandstanding and window-dressing in promoting and defending human rights. HRC is broken beyond repair.”  — Alemayehu Mariam, professor of political science at California State University, San Bernadino

Others, however, firmly believe that by withdrawing from the council, not only will the cause of human rights as a whole suffer, but so too will American influence.

“Ms Haley is likely to make two demands. The first, to drop the permanent anti-Israel item from the agenda, will probably be refused. The second, that members should be elected competitively rather than by regional blocs voting for “clean slates” (pre-cooked lists), is more feasible but still unlikely. What is more certain is that if America walks out, the cause of human rights would be weakened—along with American influence.”  — The Economist

Following the U.S. president’s dismissal of brutal North Korean human rights violations following his meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un, the United States has already come under fire for supporting such an infamous violator of human rights — the withdrawal from the council can only add fuel to the fire.

Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.

 

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