The United States will rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2022, making good on President Joe Biden’s promise to ground America’s foreign policy in the defense of human rights.
“The Council plays a meaningful role in protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms by documenting atrocities in order to hold wrongdoers accountable,” explained U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “It focuses attention on emergencies and unfolding human rights crises, ensuring that those who are voiceless have a place to be heard. The Council provides a forum where we can have open discussions about ways we and our partners can improve.”
At the same time, cautioned Secretary Blinken, the UN Human Rights Council “also suffers from serious flaws, including disproportionate attention on Israel, and the membership of several states with egregious human rights records. “Together,” he said, “we must push back against attempts to subvert the ideals upon which the Human Rights Council was founded, including that each person is endowed with human rights and that states are obliged to protect those rights.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States’ “initial efforts as full members in the Council will focus on what we can accomplish. . .in Afghanistan, Burma, China, Ethiopia, Syria, and Yemen. More broadly, we will promote respect for fundamental freedoms and women’s rights, and oppose religious intolerance, racial and ethnic injustices, and violence and discrimination against members of minority groups.”
The United States will oppose the election of countries with egregious human rights records and encourage those committed to promoting and protecting human rights both in their own countries and abroad to seek membership. “We must constantly strive to be as inclusive, rights respecting, and free as possible,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield.
Secretary Blinken thanked the UN Member States for affording the United States the opportunity to serve again on the Human Rights Council. He said, “We look forward to the work ahead with our international partners to protect, defend, and advance human rights and the work of the Council globally.”