WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration is set to announce this week that it will misbehave with the UN Human Rights Council, which former President Donald Trump withdrew nearly three years ago, US officials said on Sunday. The decision moves another Trump-era away from multilateral organizations and agreements.
The us Officials say Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a senior US diplomat in Geneva will announce on Monday that Washington will seek election to the Geneva-based body as a full member with an eye as an observer. The decision is likely to attract criticism from conservative lawmakers and the pro-Israeli community.
Trump, as the main human rights agency of the world body in 2018, has received the largest number of significant council resolutions against any country due to its unanimous focus on Israel, as well as its members and because The middle has been pulled out of a number of authoritarian countries. It failed to complete a comprehensive list of reforms sought by Nikki Haley, the then US ambassador to the United Nations.
In addition to the Council’s continued focus on Israel, the Trump administration took issue with the body’s membership, which currently includes China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses .
A senior US official said the Biden administration believes the council should still reform, but the best way to promote change is to “incorporate it in a majestic way.” The official said it could “be an important platform for people fighting atrocities and injustice around the world” and the intention of America’s presence is to “ensure that it can live up to that potential.”
That officer and three other people familiar with the decision were not authorized to discuss it publicly before the announcement, and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Although, by the end of 2021, the US will have only non-observer status on the council, officials said the administration intended one of the three full member seats – currently Austria, Denmark and Italy – from Western Europe and other states. Groups ”that come for election later this year.
The United Nations General Assembly makes the final choice in a vote that usually takes place in October every year to fill vacant positions in the 47-member State Council over a three-year term.
American engagement with the Council and its predecessor, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, has been the subject of a political football between Republican and Democratic administrations for decades. Recognizing their shortcomings, Democratic presidents have attempted to seek a seat at the table, while Republicans have criticized Israel.
Trump’s withdrawal from the UNHRC, however, was one of several American retirements from the international community during his four years in office. He also walked away from the Paris Climate Agreement, the Iran Nuclear Agreement, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Education and Cultural Organization, UNESCO and several arms-control treaties. Trump also threatened to withdraw from the International Postal Union and often indicated his exit from the World Trade Organization.
Since taking over last month, President Joe Biden has reconciled both the Paris Agreement and the WHO and indicated interest in returning to the UNESCO, along with the Iran Agreement.
Associated Press writer Jamie Keaton in Geneva contributed to this report.