Pence: U.N. Human Rights Council ‘Doesn’t Deserve Its Name’

Pence, UN with Kelly, Trump BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIAFPGetty Images
BRENDAN SMIALOWSK/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK CITY — Vice President Mike Pence delivered a tough message to the United Nations Wednesday, calling for wide-ranging reforms to U.N. peacekeeping missions, as well as its Human Rights Council — which he said “doesn’t deserve its name” due to it’s appalling membership.

In an address to the U.N. Security Council, Pence reiterated the calls Trump made in prior days that the U.N. needed broad reforms to deliver on its goals and to provide value for the investment put into it. Pence used the opportunity of a vote on a resolution calling for peacekeeping reform to urge for the international body to act to make the peacekeeping missions “more efficient, more effective, more accountable, and more credible.”

“Peacekeeping missions must support a political solution; have the consent of the host country; its mandates must be realistic and achievable; every mission must have an exit strategy, and the United Nations peacekeeping missions must adjust to progress and failure,” he said.

His comments echo those of not only Trump but also Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has been persistent in her calls for wide-ranging reforms to the body.

Pence also took up another line of attack from Haley, namely her criticisms of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, which Haley has blasted for not only its anti-Israel bias, but also it’s sketchy membership — which includes countries with poor human rights records such as Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.

Haley has previously called the Council a “haven for dictators” and has suggested that membership of the Council has allowed such countries to escape being held accountable for their human rights abuses. She has also warned the U.S. could leave the Council if reforms are not undertaken.

Trump on Tuesday called the Council’s membership “a massive source of embarrassment.” Pence took a similarly strong line in his remarks to the Security Council, saying “the truth is, the Human Rights Council doesn’t deserve its name.”

Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council actually attracts and welcomes many of the worst human rights violators in the world.  A clear majority of the Human Rights Council’s members fail to meet even the most basic human rights standards. Cuba sits on the Human Rights Council, an oppressive regime that has repressed its people and jailed political opponents for more than half a century. Venezuela sits on the Human Rights Council, a dictatorship that undermines democracy at every turn, imprisons political opponents, and as we speak is advancing policies that worsen deprivation and poverty that’s costing the lives of innocent men, women, and children.

Pence, citing a warning from President John F. Kennedy, went on to describe the Council as a “forum for invective,” specifically against Israel.

Pointing to foreign policy crises in places such as North Korea and Burma, Pence reminded the Security Council that “keeping the peace requires more than peacekeeping — it requires action, courage, conviction.”

Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics and U.N. reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY

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