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Returning to UN Rights Council, US to ‘oppose disproportionate attention on Israel’

The Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, home of the UN Human Rights Council (CC BY-SA Henry Mühlpfordt/Wikipedia)
The Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, home of the UN Human Rights Council (CC BY-SA Henry Mühlpfordt/Wikipedia)

The United States returns to the UN Human Rights Council today, three-and-a-half years after its dramatic walk-out — time seized upon by China to assert wider influence.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield says that with Washington’s return to the Council, “we can work to ensure this body lives up to these principles.”

The US “will oppose the Council’s disproportionate attention on Israel, which includes the Council’s only standing agenda item targeting a single country,” she says.

To promote human rights worldwide, “We will use every tool at our disposal, from introducing resolutions and amendments to wielding our vote when needed. Our goals are clear: stand with human rights defenders and speak out against violations and abuses of human rights.”

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks to reporters during a news conference, at United Nations headquarters. on March 1, 2021. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

The United Nations General Assembly elected 18 new members of the UN’s top rights body, with countries kicking off their three-year council term from January 1.

The council is tasked with promoting and protecting human rights worldwide, addressing violations and making recommendations, but the election of Eritrea again raises the issue of having authoritarian regimes on the body. Israel has repeatedly complained that the council focuses on it disproportionately while allowing major rights abusers to take part in its activities.

Under former US president Donald Trump, the United States quit the council in 2018, accusing it of hypocrisy and obsession with haranguing Israel.

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