U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 1, 2019
Thank you, Mr. President, as we reflect on the recent work of the Human Rights Council, we must all acknowledge that the body continues to fall far short of its potential as laid out by the General Assembly in 2006.
Underpinning the problems affecting the Council is a broken membership selection process that permits human rights abusers such as the former Maduro regime to gain representation at the expense of those who would support human rights. As Ambassador Craft said, “that one of the world’s worst human rights abusers would be granted a seat on a body that is supposed to defend human rights is utterly appalling.” The Council will never achieve legitimacy as long as States responsible for human rights violations and abuses are given a platform to criticize the human rights situations of other states all the while perverting the Council’s own mechanisms to avoid responsibility for their own violations and abuses.
Further undercutting the Council’s credibility is its continued refusal to treat all states equally, as demonstrated by its continued discriminatory treatment of Israel under permanent Item 7.
Moreover, we have grave concerns about reprisals against human rights defenders appearing before the HRC and other UN fora in Geneva, including Chinese efforts to silence voices of dissent in its Universal Periodic Review.
We continue to hope that changes in procedures and focus can enable the Council to meaningfully promote, in the words of resolution 60/251, “universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”