The United States returns to the Human Rights Council

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It’s official. The United States announces its return to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). In front of the diplomatic gratin of Geneva, the charge d’affaires of the United States Mission to the UN Mark Cassayre declared: “I am pleased to inform you this morning that Secretary of State Blinken will announce that the United States is re-engaging in the Human Rights Council as an observer. ”

Read: Return of the United States to the Human Rights Council: a 180-degree turn

A complete change

The announcement was expected, but it indicates a radical change from the administration of Donald Trump. But, as Mark Cassayre virtually pointed out to the HRC on Monday, the United States is aware of the institution’s “flaws”, but added: “This body has the potential to be an important forum for all those who fight tyranny and injustice in the world. By being present at the table [de négociations], we are looking to make sure it lives up to that potential. ” In this sense, Washington considers it more useful to engage in the HRC to reform it. It is also the realization that Trump’s empty chair policy has allowed China to occupy the ground very actively, to the detriment of the American conception of human rights.

The United States will undoubtedly apply for the CDH this fall or the following year. They slammed the door of the Council in June 2018 after threatening to do so quickly after the inauguration of Donald Trump. Ambassador to the UN in New York Nikki Haley had come to Geneva twice to speak out against the HRC, considered “anti-Israel” – in that sense, she aligned herself with the position of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Critics before Donald Trump

However, Trump’s Republican administration was not the first to castigate the HRC. George W. Bush’s ambassador to Geneva, Warren Tichenor, had tried to undermine the creation of the CDH in 2006. The America of Bush son boycotted the Geneva institution. Democrat Barack Obama immediately decided to join the CDH, appointing an ambassador specifically dedicated to human rights, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, then an Amerindian ambassador, Keith Harper.

Read also: The United States quits the Human Rights Council, Switzerland “regrets”

Mark Cassayre recalled on Monday what President Joe Biden recently said about racism in the United States: “I don’t promise that we can end it tomorrow, but I promise you that we will make great strides in ending it. systemic racism. Every branch of the White House and the federal government will be part of this effort. ” The charge d’affaires noted: Washington will be animated by a spirit of introspection, collaboration and commitment with the CDH in order to strengthen the institution and best defend human rights in the world.