Statement on U.S. Rejoining UN Human Rights Council

GENEVA, February 8, 2021 —  In wake of U.S. Secretary of State Blinken’s announcement that the U.S. will rejoin the UN Human Rights Council, the independent human rights group UN Watch issued the following comment.

“UN Watch was founded by U.S. Ambassador Morris Abram, a human rights champion at the United Nations who drafted the convention against racism, and we have always believed in the essential role of U.S. leadership at the world body to counter the influence of dictatorships such China, Russia and Cuba.”

“The cost of the U.S. rejoining is that it lends legitimacy to a council where tyrannies and other non-democracies now comprise 60% of the membership, including serial abusers of human rights like China, Russia, Cuba, and Pakistan, all of whom have escaped any censure in the form of a council resolution, inquiry or urgent session,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“In exchange, the U.S. at a minimum must demand serious reform, removing despots from the council such as Venezuela’s Maduro regime, holding dictators to account for their oppression, and ending the notorious agenda item that targets Israel alone in each session.”

“Engagement has to be principled. Too often, the Obama Administration acted like a cheerleader for the council, praising sessions that included the adoption of numerous anti-Western resolutions sponsored by the Cuban regime.”

“Instead, the Biden Administration should be candid in calling out the council’s abuses, and holding their feet to the fire.”

“For example, the U.S. should demand the termination of the council’s mandate on ‘unilateral coercive measures’, a Cuban-backed post currently held by UN special rapporteur Alena Douhan, to oppose Western sanctions on dictatorships. Douhan is now visiting Venezuela on a propaganda visit to portray the Maduro regime as a victim of U.S. sanctions. America needs to demand an end to the UNHRC’s subversion of human rights.”

For more information, see 7 Key Facts on the UNHRC.

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