The US was elected on Thursday in an uncontested poll of member nations by the UN General Assembly. President Joe Biden had stated he would return the US to the Geneva-based rights group. Cameroon, Eritrea and the United Arab Emirates additionally joined the Human Rights Council on Thursday regardless of considerations over their very own home data voiced by human rights organizations.

The US acquired 168 votes, a slight drop from what different nations acquired to get three-year phrases.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated in a press release celebrating the American reentry to the council that the US’ preliminary efforts on the council will give attention to Afghanistan, Myanmar, China, Ethiopia, Syria and Yemen. She stated the US’ objectives will probably be to “stand with human rights defenders and speak out against violations and abuses of human rights.”

“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, including LGBTQI+ persons and persons with disabilities,” she continued, including that the US “will press against 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.”

Notably, Thomas-Greenfield stated the US “will oppose the Council’s disproportionate attention on Israel, which includes the Council’s only standing agenda item targeting a single country. ”

Then-US Ambassador the UN Nikki Haley accused the council of bias towards Israel and failing to carry human rights abusers accountable when the US left the panel in 2018.

“For too long,” Haley stated in 2018, “the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.”

“Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council,” she stated. “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.

Biden’s Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, announced the US would reengage with the council in February.

There are 47 member states on the council, and current members include countries that have been accused of grave human rights abuses such as China, Russia and Venezuela.

In a statement in February announcing the US’ re-engagement with the council, Blinken said the administration recognized “that the Human Rights Council is a flawed physique, in want of reform to its agenda, membership, and focus, together with its disproportionate give attention to Israel.”

“However, our withdrawal in June 2018 did nothing to encourage significant change, however as an alternative created a vacuum of US management, which nations with authoritarian agendas have used to their benefit,” he said.

The council has long been criticized for including countries with tarnished records on protecting human rights in their own territory. Ahead of Thursday’s vote at the UN, the NGO Human Rights Watch warned that a noncompetitive election “just about ensures seats for candidate nations with abysmal rights data,” calling on UN member countries to refrain from voting for Cameroon, Eritrea, United Arab Emirates specifically among others.

And the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Biden administration to prioritize human rights in domestic policy following the US’ reelection to the council.

“President Biden throughout his presidential marketing campaign promised to reestablish relations with worldwide companions and middle human rights at residence and overseas underneath his administration and to steer by the facility of instance,” the ACLU statement said. “However, regardless of the election to the council, the United States’ human rights file stays very problematic, not least as a result of the nation hasn’t but ratified or absolutely carried out key worldwide human rights treaties and didn’t implement suggestions made by regional and world human rights our bodies.”

The US’ reelection to the Human Rights Council is the newest effort to revive US standing on the worldwide stage by way of involvement in multilateral organizations and treaties spurned by the Trump administration. Biden reversed the US departure from the World Health Organization and the Paris local weather accords.

NCS’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.


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