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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It starts: US threatens to leave 'human rights council'

The times, they are a changing. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has issued a clear threat to one of the 'achievements' of the Obama administration - the decision to join the United Nations 'human rights council.' In a letter obtained by Foreign Policy Magazine, Tillerson has told the council that unless it reforms itself, the United States will leave.
Tillerson, in his letter to the U.N. advocates and human rights groups, said that while the United States “continues to evaluate the effectiveness” of the Council, it remains skeptical about the virtues of membership in a human rights organization that includes states with troubled human rights records such as China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
“We may not share a common view on this, given the makeup of the membership,” Tillerson told the organizations, who have urged continued U.S. membership. “While it may be the only such organization devoted to human rights, the Human Rights Council requires considerable reform in order for us to continue to participate.”
If the United States ultimately were to withdraw from the Council, that would mark a victory for one of two factions within the Trump administration debating the future of U.S. policy at the United Nations.
“Many who despise the Council want the U.S. to stay in and undermine efforts by others to obsesses over Israel—and put the spotlight back on human rights abusers the Council regularly ignores,” said a GOP congressional aide. “But there are others who see that as fruitless and wasted diplomatic effort.”
For the time being, Tillerson wrote, the U.S. will participate in the ongoing session of the Human Rights Council, to “reiterate our strong principled objection to the Human Rights Council’s biased agenda against Israel.”
“Our aim is to fix the organization,” the Tillerson aide told FP.
Tillerson said U.S. priorities including renewing the mandate of a U.N. Commission of inquiry into atrocities in Syria, and underscoring U.S. support for U.N. special rapporteurs for Iran, North Korea, and Burma. He also said Washington would seek to renew the mandates of special rapporteurs investigating the use of torture and promoting freedom of expression.
UN advocates said it was unclear whether the administration is really mulling a withdrawal, or simply putting more pressure on for reform.
Sadly, the United Nations and its constituent bodies, including the 'human rights council,' exist only to give prominence to an anti-Israel agenda. They have long since outlived their usefulness, and ought to be shut down. The land that they currently occupy on the east side of Manhattan would be worth far more as condominiums or office buildings.

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