Washington: US President Joe Biden on Monday ordered the State Department to immediately re-engage with United Nations Human Rights Council as an observer, almost three years after his predecessor Donald Trump withdrew from the organization, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.
“The Biden administration has recommitted the United States to a foreign policy centered on democracy, human rights, and equality. Effective use of multilateral tools is an important element of that vision, and in that regard the President has instructed the Department of State to reengage immediately and robustly with the UN Human Rights Council,” Blinken said in a statement.
The Trump administration withdrew from UNHCR in 2018, with then-US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley saying the organization was biased against Israel and protected human rights abusers such as Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China and Venezuela.
Blinken said the US still regards UNHCR as a “flawed body” that needs to reform its agenda, membership and focus, “including its disproportionate focus on Israel.”
However, he argued that Washington’s pullout from the organization in 2018 did nothing to encourage change, but rather led to a vacuum of US leadership.
“The Council can help to promote fundamental freedoms around the globe, including freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and religion or belief as well as the fundamental rights of women, girls, LGBTQI+ persons, and other marginalized communities. To address the Council’s deficiencies and ensure it lives up to its mandate, the United States must be at the table using the full weight of our diplomatic leadership,” he said.
Blinken said that in the immediate term, Washington would engage with the UNHRC as an observer, a position that would allow it to engage in debate and partner with other nations to introduce resolutions.
Since taking office in January, Biden signed a flurry of executive orders to reverse Trump’s policies. The US has already rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate change and the World Health Organization. (Sputnik)