by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
The UN Human Rights Council (HRC), 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 UN Commission on Human Rights, the HRC has been dominated by non-democratic regimes, which have been hostile to the US.
For example, the anti-US, pro-Ayatollahs 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-US 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 HRC, Burundi, which has been accused by the HRC, itself, of crimes against humanity and refuses to cooperate with the HRC 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 has sustained arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders, human rights leaders and free press activists.
Other member-states of the HRC - 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.
The US withdrawal from the HRC exposed the reality of the latter, which leveraged the US participation to legitimize anti-US regimes, undermining US interests throughout the globe, while advancing the interests of US rivals and enemies.
The US withdrawal has sent a message to the UN, and other entities which have benefited from US commercial and military support. They realize that US participation in - and support of - global initiatives should not be taken for granted, but will be preconditioned upon pro-US conduct.
Such a policy is consistent with the US departure from the non-ratified 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Nuclear Agreement), which rewarded the anti-US Ayatollahs 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-US Arab regimes, entrenching their foothold in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The US departure from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement and the HRC bolsters confidence among US allies and deters rogue regimes, thus reducing the scope of global instability and violence.
US policy toward the HRC – which has been an authentic reflection of the UN at large - sends a message to the UN, raising somber doubts about the future of US financial support for that organization, unless the UN deviates from its modus operandi, which has provided tailwinds to anti-US rogue regimes and organizations, while benefiting from the hospitality and financial generosity of the US. Thus, the UN may forfeit part, or all, US foreign aid, which amounts to 20% of its annual budget, including 25% of UNRWA’s budget, which has funded visceral hate-education and glorification of terrorists.
In 2008, the HRC 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 HRC. In 2008, Falk accused the US government of a cover-up concerning 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 track record of the Human Rights Council, on the one hand, and the national security and homeland security of the US, on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron. Hence, quitting the HRC enhances the interests of the US and the Free World.