A general view at a meeting of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland (13 September 2021) Picture taken by fisheye lens. U.N. General Assembly, Oct 14 Reuters - The Geneva Human Rights Council elected the United States in the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, more than three years after the Trump administration quit it over what it called chronic bias against Israel and a lack of reforms.
The United States, which was unopposed, received 168 votes in the general ballot by 193 members secretly. It began a three-year term on January 1, pitting Washington against Beijing and Moscow, who begun council terms this year.
He took office in January pledging that human rights would be the center of his foreign policy and his administration has not shied away from criticizing China over Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan and calling out Russia.
A Reuters review of the Biden administration's record so far showed concerns for human rights in foreign countries had several times been pushed aside in favour of national security priorities and engagement with other powers. The United States will have an opportunity to demonstrate just how serious the Human Rights Watch U.N. Director Biden administration is about human rights central to its domestic and foreign policies, said Louis Charbonneau. With a lot of missteps so far, they should use their time on the Council to promote human rights among friends and foes alike. Human Rights Council candidates are elected in even groups to ensure democratic representation. There were no competitive races in December on Thursday to elect 13 new members and replace five members. Members can serve more than two consecutive terms.
The General Assembly also re-elected Kazakhstan, Gambia, Benin, Qatar, Malaysia, Paraguay, India and Argentina, Kenya, Jordan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Montenegro, and Lithuania, and voted on Thursday to re-elect Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia, India and Argentina.
The United States received the second lowest number of votes, beating out only Eritrea, which got 144 votes.