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June 20 2018

Operation Strip Fig Leaf: U.S. Leaves U.N. Human Rights Council

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

The Council is irredeemable. It’s obsessed with a racist lie. Better to withdraw now than to go on pretending that that lie is somehow acceptable as long as it’s expressed less often.

--Weekly Standard on U.S. withdrawal from the U.N. Council for Human Rights

 

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley says that the allies have told her that U.S. membership in the U.N.'s Human Rights Council provided the organization's last shred of credibility.

Seems that the U.S. has, at long last, stripped the ludicrously-named organizationof its fig leaf.  

Yesterday, Ambassador Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. is pulling out of the of the U.N. Human Rights Council.  

It should have happened several administrations ago, but nevertheless the gutsiness of the move was refreshing. Ironically, pulling out of this organization is taking a stand for human rights. The Human Rights Council is dominated by repressive regimes.

As Haley notes in this morning's Wall Street Journal, the Human Rights Council gave cover to human rights abuses. It routinely passes resolutions condemning Israel, while leaving Syria, Iran, and North Korea, genuine abusers of human rights,  untouched.

Haley gives reasons for the U.S. withdrawal:

There are two major reasons that so many countries have resisted U.S.-led reform efforts. The first is baked into the council’s composition. One look at this rogue’s gallery explains why the organization has such appalling disrespect for the rights Americans take for granted. A credible human-rights council would pose a threat to these countries, so they oppose the steps needed to create one. Instead they obstruct investigations and reports, while interfering with the council’s ability to name and shame the perpetrators of the world’s worst atrocities.

The second reason for resistance to reform is even more frustrating. Many countries agree with the U.S. about shunning human-rights violators and supporting Israel—but only behind closed doors. Despite numerous overtures, these countries were unwilling to join the U.S. in a public stand. Some even told us they were fine with the council’s flaws, as long as it let them address their pet issues. This is not a moral compromise we are willing to make. The U.K. has promised to oppose any resolution targeting Israel under Agenda Item 7, and we support that stance. We wish other countries would do the same.

In the end, our allies’ case for the U.S. to stay on the council was actually the most compelling argument to leave. They said American participation was the last shred of credibility left in the organization. But a stamp of legitimacy on the current Human Rights Council is precisely what the U.S. should not provide.

The Weekly Standard applauds the move, calling the Human Rights Council "a hangout for anti-Semitic cranks." The Standard calls the timing of the withdrawal tricky, as the Council's High Commissioner had just criticized the Trump administration  for U.S. border policies.

Nevertheless  the Standard makes a great observation--it notices that Samantha Power, who was our Ambassador to the U.N. before Haley, said the U.S. should have remained in the Council and worked to reform it.

The article notes that Ms. Power bragged that during her tenure the U.S.managed to cut condemnations of Israel by half. There have been 68 such condemnations of Israel by the Council since 2006, compared with 9 for North Korea, 6 for Iran, and 3 for Sudan. No complaints from the Council for human rights abuses for Venezuela, Zimbabwe, China, Turkey, Somalia, Russia, Pakistan.

As the Standard comments of Powell's achievement in allegedly reducing the number of condemnations of Israel : "Golly."

The Washington Post's report (subscription required) on the withdrawal was laughable:

The decision to leave the 47-nation body was more definitive than the lesser option of staying on as a nonvoting observer. It represents another retreat by the Trump administration from international groups and agreements whose policies it deems out of sync with American interests on trade, defense, climate change and, now, human rights. And it leaves the council without the United States playing a key role in promoting human rights around the world.

Were you proud to see the U.S. taking a real stand for human rights, as opposed to coddling repressive regimes in the vague hope that some day somehow they will become nicer to the people they oppress if we overlook their abuses?

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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