The Trump administration called the 47 nation council hypocritical and said it was vilifying Israel. The Biden administration says the U.S. can be more effective as a member of the United States of America.
The United States regained on Thursday a seat in the United Nations Human Rights Council, which the Trump administration abandoned in 2018 because of what it called the body s hypocrisy and anti-Israel prejudice. In seeking to rejoin the 47 member council, the Biden administration, which has taken a far more supportive attitude toward the United Nations than its predecessor, argued that American interests would be better served if the United States were a member seeking change from within. The United States won a three-year term for one of 18 open seats in the board at a vote by the General Assembly, with consideration starting January 1 in a vote by 193 members. This Council is headquartered in Geneva and is considered to be the world's most important human rights body. While it has no international criminal enforcement powers, the council may undertake investigations that help shape the global image of countries. It can also exert influence on their behavior if they are deemed to have poor rights records.
The Council's critics have a wide array of arguments, arguing that many elected members are human rights abusers themselves, pointing to examples like China, Russia, Cuba and Venezuela. The presence of such countries on the Council, critics say, undermines the legitimacy of its work. Many also object to a permanent item on the council's agenda regarding Israeli rights abuses in the Palestinian territories, which has become the basis for its numerous resolutions condemning Israel. The biden administration s success at rejoining the council may now bring about a test of its stated goal of strengthening America's human-rights advocacy around the world. Many conservative Republicans opposed rejoining, and there is no guarantee that the United States will not withdraw from the council again if a Republican wins the White House in 2024. Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, who announced the Obama administration's intention in February to regain a seat on the council, acknowledged what he called its challenges, including unacceptable bias against Israel and membership rules that allow countries with atrocious human rights records to occupy seats they do not merit As if to underscore the challenges cited by Mr. Blinken, several countries with questionable human rights records also won seats on the council on Thursday, among them Cameroon, Eritrea, the United Arab Emirates and Honduras. With it resumption of Human Rights Council, the Biden Administration further reversed its predecessor's moves toward american isolationism. President Biden restored U.S. membership in the World Health Organization, restored the Paris Climate Agreement and revived funding to U.N. agencies that was cut. Those agencies include the United Nations Population Fund, a leading provider of maternal health and family planning services, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which assists Palestinians classified as refugees. Under the voting system for open seats in the Human Rights Council, slates of candidates are divided into five geographical regions and any member of the General Assembly is eligible to run except those completing two consecutive terms on the council. Voting is carried out secret ballot. Majority of 97 votes is needed to win. In cases where the number of candidates exceeds the number of open seats, the biggest Vote-Getter wins The number of candidates from each region however, this year is equal to the number of contested seats in that region, meaning none of the seats were open seats. The rights groups outside the United Nations called that part of the problem. The absence of competition during this year's Human Rights Council vote makes a mockery of the word election, Charles Charbonneau, U.N. director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement ahead of the vote. E. sends a terrible warning that U.N. member states aren't serious about the Council's fundamental mission to protect human rights.