The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has long been a body that seems not nearly as interested in defending human rights as defiantly bullying Israel, and the United States has taken a stand to say, “no more.”
Joined by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced America’s official withdrawal from the Council, after years of U.S. input and calls for reform being ignored. In her address, she stated:
"Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council. The world's most inhumane regimes continue to escape its scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in its ranks."
Ambassador Haley rightly accused the UNHRC of anti-Israel bias and willfully failing to pursue true human rights violators.
Secretary of State Pompeo also spoke, backing up Ambassador Haley’s words:
We have no doubt that there was once a noble vision for this council. But today, we need to be honest – the Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights.
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 Human Rights Council enables abuses by absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those who have committed no offense. A mere look around the world today demonstrates that the council has failed in its stated objectives.
Its membership includes authoritarian governments with unambiguous and abhorrent human rights records, such as China, Cuba, and Venezuela.
There is no fair or competitive election process, and countries have colluded with one another to undermine the current method of selecting members.
The ACLJ supports this decision to withdraw. We’ve previously reported how the UNHRC recently passed five resolutions condemning Israel, more than against North Korea, Iran, and Syria combined. Meanwhile, time and time again it has turned a blind eye to atrocities committed by other countries, including Council member nations. The Council has been inexplicably dedicated to their seemingly anti-Semitic persecution of Israel, simply for existing.
Even Great Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, critically pointed out that the State of Israel is the only country with an entire agenda item at every UNHRC session.
As Ambassador Haley pointed out, the United States will still tirelessly defend human rights, with or without the UNHRC, but Israel is our ally and we support and defend Israeli interests.
The withdrawal also means the end of the $17 million dollars in U.S. taxpayer funding they received each year. It is certainly a relief that a U.N. body that completely disregards the wishes of the United States will no longer be receiving our tax dollars.
This is not the first time the U.S. and Ambassador Haley has warned of financial repercussions at the U.N. if they continued to disregard U.S. policies. We told you how Ambassador Haley proposed cutting funding to countries that regularly vote against American interests at the U.N.
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton made a statement that the U.S. withdrawal is long-overdue:
“This decision, in many respects, has been decades in the making. The Human Rights Council, its predecessor the Human Rights Commission, were really not places where human rights were a priority, strange as that may seem,” Bolton said.
At the ACLJ, we fully support the Administration’s decision to walk away from this anti-Israel bastion of hypocrisy. It sends a powerful message that America will not tolerate an institution that uses the mantle of human rights to violate human rights, that defends human rights abusers in their quest to destroy Israel, and that refuses to actually defend human rights.
At the same time, this makes the ACLJ’s work at the U.N., including our legal submissions and oral interventions at the UNHRC, all the more important. We will continue to demand the U.N. and the UNHRC defend Christians facing real persecution and human rights violations across the world.
We’ve been fighting at the UNHRC for many years, through our international affiliate with consultative status at the U.N., the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), as many of our cases involve the human rights violations of innocent Christians around the world. We are continually urging the U.N. to intervene in human rights cases, such as imprisoned Christians Pastor Andrew Brunson and Asia Bibi, and to label the barbaric atrocities that have been carried out against Christians in Iraq an Syria as genocide.
In May of this year alone we filed five critical legal submissions at the U.N. HRC on behalf of persecuted Christians and the defenseless around the world:
We also accompanied wrongfully imprisoned American Pastor Andrew Brunson’s daughter to the U.N. earlier this year when she bravely addressed the UNHRC on her father’s behalf.
Even with the withdrawal of the United States, the work of the ACLJ at the UNHRC continues. Before the end of June we will have also made oral interventions on Nigeria’s Christians, Pastor Andrew, Pakistan’s Christians and Asia Bibi, and the genocide of Christians.
We will continue to be a voice for the voiceless, and we will continue to defend our ally Israel. The international community must hear how Christians are being persecuted, terrorized, imprisoned, tortured, and killed all over the world for their faith. The United Nations and the UNHRC specifically are supposed to be preventing these gross human rights violations, or stepping in and intervening when such abuses occur.
We are hopeful that the United States leaving the table and withdrawing its funding will finally get the world’s attention, and the UNHRC will reform to focus on true human rights violators, not the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel.
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