The US Congress responded in conflicting ways to the Biden government’s recent decision: to return the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Countries gave up their seat on the council in June 2018, under the Trump administration, stating that some of the worst human rights violators – China, Cuba, and Venezuela – were members of the council.
On February 8, however, new US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken criticized the 2018 decision, noting in a press release that the withdrawal “did nothing to encourage major change, but it created a vacuum in US leadership.”
While Blinken acknowledged that the council was an “imperfect body” and in need of reform, he said that President Joe Biden had instructed the State Department to “immediately and actively engage with the United Nations Human Rights Council” as an observer.
In the council, the observer can make suggestions to solve the problem but has no voting rights.
Senator Marco Rubio (R from Florida), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Congressional Executive Committee on China (CECC), criticized Biden, saying he “should not give an iota of credibility” to the council since “it has become a meeting place. It has authoritarian regimes and receives international coverage to continue committing their horrific violations. “
Rubio also highlighted the massive human rights violations occurring under the jurisdiction of four current council members: China, Cuba, Russia and Venezuela. The most spectacular case is the case of China, in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the western region of Xinjiang alone has imprisoned more than a million members of ethnic minorities, such as Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyzs, in concentration camps.
In January, then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of these minorities as genocide and a “crime against humanity”.
Rubio then suggested that the Biden administration turn its attention to “working with democratic allies to push these brutal regimes to accountability and justice and to strengthen the protection of human rights everywhere.”
In a statement, Republican Senator Rick Scott described the Biden administration’s decision as a “tragic mistake,” adding that “the Biden administration must make it very clear that the United States supports human rights and refuses to deal with an organization that turns a blind eye to genocide.”
The most prominent Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCall, did not ask Biden to withdraw from the UN, but said: “I urge POTUSJoeBiden & SecBlinken to take into account the atrocities committed by the United Nations.” Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council [Consiglio per i diritti umani dell’Onu, ndt] While the government joins it. Our engagement should focus on implementing meaningful reforms in the UN Human Rights Council, including ending apparent bias against Israel, and ensuring that the commission investigates the genocide in # Xinjiang without delay. “
Instead, UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the US decision – according to a statement from his spokesman – to define the council as “the primary global forum for addressing the full range of human rights challenges.”
Several Democratic lawmakers also tweeted to express their support for the Biden administration, including Representative Barbara Lee (Democrat from California), that this move “strengthens the oppressed and restores America’s credibility in the world.”
On the other hand, Rep. Chip Roy (Republican from Texas) and 44…