GENEVA (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated Wednesday the USA will vie for a seat on the U.N.’s human rights physique, which might cement a U.S. return to a Geneva-based physique that was shunned by the Trump administration.
The highest U.S. diplomat stated his nation will search a three-year time period beginning subsequent 12 months on the Human Rights Council, and acknowledged it wants reform, notably to finish its “disproportionate” deal with Israel — the one nation whose rights report comes up for scrutiny at each considered one of its thrice-yearly conferences.
In a video message, Blinken raised considerations about nations together with Myanmar, which has confronted worldwide criticism over a army coup final month, China over its Xinjiang area, and Russia after the jailing of opposition chief Alexei Navalny and demonstrators throughout protests in opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s authorities.
“The US is inserting democracy and human rights on the heart of our international coverage as a result of they’re important for peace and stability,” Blinken stated, including that “the USA will search election to the Human Rights Council for the 2022 to 2024 time period.”
The U.N. Normal Meeting makes the ultimate selection in a vote that usually takes place in October yearly to fill vacant seats on the 47-member-state council. The U.S., which presently has “observer standing,” will search considered one of three full-member seats left vacant when the present phrases of Austria, Denmark and Italy — from the “Western Europe and different states group” — expire on the finish of this 12 months.
In mid-2018, then President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the council over its extreme deal with Israel, which has acquired the most important variety of important council resolutions in opposition to any nation by far, and since it failed to satisfy an in depth record of reforms demanded by Nikki Haley, the then- U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
The Trump administration additionally took concern with the physique’s membership, which presently consists of China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses.
Echoing such considerations, Blinken stated nations “with the worst human rights report shouldn’t be members of this council.” He additionally repeated U.S. requires an finish to the council’s common agenda merchandise, often known as Merchandise 7, that focuses on Israel and the Palestinian territories.
He added that Washington would “proceed to name out abuses in locations like Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Iran” and reiterated U.S. requires the Russian authorities to “instantly and unconditionally launch” Alexei Navalny and different critics of President Vladimir Putin who’ve been “wrongly detained.”
The feedback got here on the final day of the “high-level phase” of the council session, which lasts till March 23.
Different prime audio system together with Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov, who targeted largely on the affect of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights — and took purpose at Western nations. He spoke shortly earlier than Blinken.
“The pandemic has exacerbated longstanding issues equivalent to racism and xenophobia and discrimination in opposition to ethnic and non secular minorities,” Lavrov stated, including that mass demonstrations in the USA and Europe had uncovered “persistent systemic inequalities.”
He additionally referred to as for larger regulation of social media networks, citing what he referred to as rising concern about their “non-transparent insurance policies” — echoing longstanding Russian criticism of Western social media firms like Fb and YouTube for they method they deal with content material by customers.
Blinken stated the USA “doesn’t declare to be excellent, however we try day by day to enhance, to carry ourselves accountable, to turn out to be a extra excellent union.”
“We confront our personal challenges overtly, transparently, for your complete world to see, typically as painful, typically ugly,” he stated. “However we cope with our issues overtly and totally.”
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