Today, the Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the cesspool known as the United Nations Human Rights Council. It did so in protest of the presence of notorious human rights abusers on the commission, as well as the commission’s blatant bias against Israel.
Nikki Haley, our splendid U.N. ambassador, issued a blistering critique of the Council, explaining that it has become a “protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.” She cited the admission of Congo as a member even as mass graves were being discovered there. She also noted the failure to address human rights abuses in Venezuela and Iran.
Haley and Secretary of State Pompeo are to be congratulated for this move. The U.S. should not be associated with such an organization of in any way lend it credibility. We strike a blow for human rights by refusing to be.
The Washington Post’s Carol Morello holds herself out as a reporter, not an editorial writer. However, her report on our withdrawal makes her opinion of the move clear:
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.
But in this case, Trump is “retreating” from an outfit that the Bush administration also shunned. And Morello’s last sentence is a head-scratcher. A council that includes the likes of China, Cuba, Congo, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela has no role to play in promoting human rights around the world, with or without the U.S.
What are its success stories? One supporter cited North Korea and Syria!
As Secretary Pompeo put it:
The only thing worse than a council that does almost nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human rights abuses, and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change.
Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat, criticized our withdrawal on the theory that the Council will now “run roughshod over Israel.” But, as Morello notes, even with the U.S. on board, the Council passed five resolutions condemning Israel in one day in March.
The U.N. Human Rights Council cannot run roughshod over Israel. It has no power and it has no credibility. Our withdrawal from the Council will help keep things that way.