“Under President Trump, the United States of America is firmly committed to the cause of human rights -- because we are committed to keeping the peace,” U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently told the U.N. Security Council. Vice President Pence’s words highlighted a call for needed reforms in the United Nations Human Rights Council or UNHRC.
“The United Nations,” he said, “is bound by its charter to foster “international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamentalfreedoms for all”:
“As we look at the membership of the council today, we see nations that betray these timeless principles upon which this institution was founded. Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council actually attracts and welcomes many of the worst human rights violators in the world.”
Vice President Pence noted that Cuba sits on the Council, despite its record of repression. Another member, Venezuela, undermines democracy and imprisons political opponents to its regime.
Vice President Pence also called for reform of the UN Human Rights Council agenda item on Israel, recalling that it is the only country with an agenda item dedicated to it.
In addition to his call for reform of the Human Rights Council, Vice President Pence asked the United Nations Security Council and all nations to call out human rights abuses with action, courage and conviction. In particular, he called on the security forces of Burma to stop the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim people that has driven them from their homes in the hundreds of thousands. He called on the UN Security Council to act swiftly to bring the crisis to an end.
“Through reform of our efforts and reform of this institution, through renewed courage to speak and act whenever and wherever the unalienable rights of innocent people, or the peace of the world, is at risk,” said Vice President Pence, “We will create, as our President said, a more safe and peaceful future for all mankind.”