On Monday, the U.S. announced its plan to reengage with the anti-Israel U.N. Human Rights Council after President Trump withdrew in 2018. Not only does this signal a return to the Obama-era policies against Israel, but also further destroys Trump’s ‘America First’ legacy by moving away from multilateral organizations and agreements.
Mark Cassayre, U.S. charge d’affaires in Geneva told the U.N.’s main human rights body that the United States will return to the Council in full force. Sources close to U.S. diplomats say this step comes as a move toward seeking election as a full member of the Human Rights Council.
Conservative lawmakers and those in the pro-Israel community will likely rail against Biden’s latest foreign policy decision. Republican lawmakers overwhelmingly echoed Trump’s complaints that the Council is too quick to overlook the human rights abuses by tyrannical regimes while baselessly focusing on Israel’s supposed abuses.
The @UN Human Rights Council is flawed and needs reform, but walking away won’t fix it. The best way to improve the Council, so it can achieve its potential, is through robust and principled U.S. leadership. Under @POTUS Biden, we are reengaging and ready to lead.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 8, 2021
Trump not only pulled out of the Council in 2018, he became a vocal defender of Israel against the U.N.’s disproportionate focus on the country. The official decision to remove the U.S. came after the Council failed to meet a list of reforms demanded by then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley.
In addition to their incessant focus on Israel, the Trump administration took serious issue with the Council’s membership roster. Authoritarian regimes from China, Cuba, Russia and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses, have members on the Human Rights Council.
The Obama administration had a tendency to become a cheerleader for the Council and their excessive focus on Israel. Many on Biden’s team called on Joe to avoid the mess that could occur if the U.S. ignores the abuses currently sitting on the Human Rights Council.
The council next session — the first of three each year, and the only one to feature a “high-level segment” that often lures top diplomats — runs from Feb. 22 to March 23.
Currently, the U.S. has only a nonvoting status on the U.N. Human Rights Council but officials in the current administration say they intend to seek a full-member voting seat as soon as possible.
United States involvement on the U.N. Human Rights Council has long been a partisan debate for decades. Democrats, while recognizing its shortcomings, tend to want a seat while Republicans recoil at the Council’s unfounded focus on Israel.
Trump’s withdrawal from the U.N. Human Rights Council was one of the many steps his administration took to re-focus the conversation back to America and away from multilateral globalist organizations. President Trump also walked away from the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran Nuclear Deal, WHO, UNESCO, NAFTA and more. As a result, the U.S. economy boomed and many international allies and adversaries were forced back to the negotiating table.