Thank you, Mr. President. The United States’ withdrawal from the Human Rights Council was not a withdrawal from our commitment to advancing universal human rights within the UN system and around the world. The failures of the Human Rights Council to address some of the most egregious human rights abuses of our day make the Secretary-General’s selection of a new High Commissioner for Human Rights all the more important.
The High Commissioner can have a strong voice on these critical issues, especially when the Human Rights Council fails to live up to its name. It is incumbent on the Secretary-General’s choice, Ms. Bachelet, to avoid the failures of the UN human rights system in the past, particularly the Human Rights Council’s consistent failure to address extreme human rights abuses in the Western Hemisphere, in Venezuela, and Cuba in particular.
The UN system has failed to adequately address major human rights crises in Iran, North Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere, or stop its chronic, disproportionate obsession with Israel. It is up to Ms. Bachelet to speak out against these failures rather than accept the status quo. We hope that she does. The United States will.