Illustration (Image Credit: U.S. Amb. to the U.N. Nikki Haley speaks on the Future of the U.S. in the Human Rights Council by U.S. Mission Photo/Eric Bridiers (CC BY-ND 2.0) via flickr)
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), on the one hand, and human rights, on the other hand, constitute a classic oxymoron, as underlined by the country-membership of the Council.
Moreover, since its establishment in 2006, and just like its predecessor, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the UNHRC has been dominated by non-democratic regimes, which have been hostile to the United States.
For example, the anti-U.S., pro-Iranian member-state Venezuela has robbed its opposition-led legislature of any effective power, jailing political opponents and prosecuting civilians in military courts. The Democratic Republic of Congo is ruled by a ruthless president who is holding on to power beyond the constitutionally mandated two-term limit, repressing, silencing and murdering opponents.
Pakistan features a proliferation of military courts with death sentences for members of the opposition, unaccountability for human rights violations, the absence of a free press, no tolerance of religious minorities and women’s rights and is fertile ground for anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism. In Afghanistan, neither the government nor the Taliban opposition adheres to human rights, which has resulted in a massive toll of murders and executions, many of them carried out by government-supported illegal gangs.
Another member of the UNHRC, Burundi, which has been accused by the UNHRC itself of crimes against humanity, refuses to cooperate with the UNHRC investigation. Burundi is ruled by a president whose term has been extended beyond constitutional limits and whose security organs have followed a routine of kidnapping, torture, arbitrary arrests, executions and the “disappearance” of citizens. The repressive Cuban regime—another member state—has sustained arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders, human rights leaders and free press activists.
Other member-states of the UNHRC—despite their non-democratic regimes and questionable-to-horrendous track records on human rights—are Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Ivory Coast, Angola, Iraq, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Tunisia, Qatar, China, etc.
In 2008, the UNHRC reflected the deeply-rooted worldview of its key members, by appointing Richard Falk—known for his systematic contempt for US policy—to a 6-year term as a Special Rapporteur. The appointment was approved by a consensus of the 47 members of the UNHRC. In 2008, Falk accused the U.S. government of a cover-up concerning the terrorist attack of 9/11, including the supposed implication of neoconservatives in the attack. In 2013, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terrorism, Falk wrote in the Foreign Policy Journal: “Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return…. How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?”
The U.S. withdrawal from the UNHRC exposed the reality that the latter leveraged the U.S. participation to legitimize anti-U.S. regimes, undermining U.S. interests throughout the globe, while advancing the interests of U.S. rivals and enemies.
The U.S. withdrawal has sent a message to the U.N., and other entities which have benefited from U.S. commercial and military support. They realize that U.S. participation in—and support of—global initiatives should not be taken for granted, but will be preconditioned upon pro-U.S. conduct.
Such a policy is consistent with the U.S. departure from the non-ratified 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Nuclear Agreement), which rewarded the anti-U.S. ayatollahs of Iran with immediate, tangible, sweeping benefits in return for verbal, intangible gestures, while the ayatollahs’ machete is at the throat of Saudi Arabia and all other pro-U.S. Arab regimes, entrenching their foothold in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The U.S. departure from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement and the UNHRC bolsters confidence among U.S. allies and deters rogue regimes, thus reducing the scope of global instability and violence.
U.S. policy toward the UNHRC—which has been an authentic reflection of the U.N. at large—sends a message to the U.N., raising somber doubts about the future of U.S. financial support for that organization, unless the U.N. deviates from its modus operandi of providing tailwinds to anti-U.S. rogue regimes and organizations, while benefiting from the hospitality and financial generosity of the U.S. Thus, the U.N. may forfeit part, or all, U.S. foreign aid, which amounts to 20% of its annual budget, including 25% of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) budget, which has funded visceral hate-education and glorification of terrorists.
The track record of the UNHRC, on the one hand, and the national and homeland security of the U.S., on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron. Hence, quitting the UNHRC enhances the interests of the U.S. and the free world.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is the director of The Ettinger Report: Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative