Obama Administration Ties Successor’s Hands at UN Human Rights Council

UN Photo Jean-Marc Ferré
UN Photo Jean-Marc Ferré

The Obama administration has sought, and achieved, re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) — a disgraced organization that does little except protect dictators and criticize Israel.

President George W. Bush refused to participate in the council, but President Barack Obama decided to join it, on the theory that American involvement would improve it. Instead, U.S. involvement in the UNHRC has simply legitimized an organization that ought to be replaced.

Last Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry heralded America’s re-election to a three year term, claiming: “U.S. engagement has helped transform the Council into a more balanced and credible organization and has helped focus the global spotlight on grave violations and abuses of human rights around the world.” He is being credited with pointing out that the UNHRC has an “excessive and biased focus on Israel.”

That is not a “bug” in the UNHRC, but a feature of its design, which allows Muslim states — many with shocking human rights records — to dominate, via the African and Asian voting blocs. The countries elected along with the U.S. include China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia, with some of the world’s worst human rights records.

Through the UNHRC’s “peer review” process, the Obama administration has allowed that club of miscreants to judge the U.S. and even the laws of specific U.S. states against standards they themselves do not uphold.

Kerry claimed: “Since we joined the Council in 2009, it has created Commissions of Inquiry for Syria, North Korea, and Burundi; adopted country-specific resolutions on Sri Lanka, Iran, and Burma; passed groundbreaking resolutions promoting and protecting the rights of freedom of assembly and association; and created an independent expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” That is a rather thin record of “achievement,” especially given that nothing whatsoever resulted from these commissions and resolutions, and the U.S. is rehabilitating the Iranian regime.

It would be best to replace the UNHRC with a body that actually restricted membership to states that uphold human rights themselves. But the Obama administration has bound the hands of the next president by ensuring the U.S. remains part of the UNHRC for the next three years.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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