US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has confirmed that the country is ready to “re-engage” with the UN Human Rights Council, following the 2018 withdrawal by the former Donald Trump administration which accused the body of being “hypocritical and self-serving”.
In a series of tweet confirming the move, Blinken said: The UN Human Rights Council is flawed and needs reform, but walking away won’t fix it. The best way to improve the Council, so it can achieve its potential, is through robust and principled US leadership. Under President (Joe)Biden, we are re-engaging and ready to lead.
“When it works well, the UN Human Rights Council shines a spotlight on countries with the worst human rights records and can serve as a beacon for those fighting against injustice and tyranny. That’s why the US is back at the table.
“When we work closely with our allies and friends, we are able to call countries with the worst human rights records to account in the UN Human Rights Council. US leadership matters.”
In a separate statement, Blinken noted that US withdrawal in 2018 “did nothing to encourage meaningful change, but instead created a vacuum, which countries with authoritarian agendas have used to their advantage”, Xinhua news agency reported.
“To address the Council’s deficiencies and ensure it lives up to its mandate, the US must be at the table using the full weight of our diplomatic leadership,” the Secretary of State added.
The Trump administration announced its withdrawal from the UN body in June 2018, saying the Council had also been biased against Israel, needed a number of reforms, and that some of its members countries such as China, Cuba and Venezuela, were accused of human rights abuses.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed Blinken’s announcement.
His spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres looked forward to “hearing the crucial voice of the US across the Council’s urgent work”.