In a major and unprecedented development, the United States has withdrawn from the United Nations Human Rights Council, citing ‘political bias against Israel’ within the council. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the withdrawal of the United States from the UNHRC, accusing the body of failing to hold human rights violators accountable.
“Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council,” said Haley. “The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape its scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in its ranks.”
The ‘abusers in its ranks’ is not doubt a reference to the dozens of Islamic nations that either vote against or abstain from voting for motions that condemn Palestinian violence and terrorism in Israel without batting an eyelid. The UNHRC has in the past demonized Israel as an occupying force, and stressed on the ‘plight of the Palestinians‘.
“When a so-called Human Rights Council cannot bring itself to address the massive abuses in Venezuela and Iran, and it welcomes the Democratic Republic of Congo as a new member, the council ceases to be worthy of its name,” said Haley. “Such a council, in fact, damages the cause of human rights.”
It must be noted here that the Chair of the UNHRC is none other than serial human rights offender Saudi Arabia. This is not just ironic, but an absolute insult to the civilians living in Saudi Arabia that continue to suffer under the oppressive and authoritarian monarchy. Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst human rights record in the world, and several nations have called for it to be dropped from the UNHRC.
The election of nations to the Chair of the UNHRC is farcical to say the least, as the elections are done on a regional basis, with little to no competition for Saudi Arabia. In fact, Saudi Arabia was the least popular candidate in its group, receiving the smallest number of votes. Had there been competition, this could have meant defeat for the kingdom, particularly in light of Saudi Arabia’s repeated blocking of an international investigation into alleged Yemen war crimes after the Saudi-led coalition failed to do so. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International called for its suspension from the body.
It has to be conceded that though the United States has its own reasons for its withdrawal from the body, India has more than enough reason to either leave the body or atleast question its credibility and relevance. While the United States is justified in its decision, its perhaps time India take cue. Only yesterday, UN Human Rights High Commissioner who wrote the UN Kashmir report, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, was seen posing with radical Hurriyat separatists and Pakistan ISI agents in Geneva, only hours after the report published. This is indicative of the lack of neutrality within the UN body and only goes on to show that the council is incompetent vis a vis maintaining political neutrality is concerned.
This goes on to show that the body has merely become a tool for nations to implement their ideological and geopolitical interests in the name of human rights. This time last year, Saudi Arabia had been elected to the UN women’s rights commission, prompting outrage from human rights groups. That had to be the icing on the cake, as the treatment of women in the desert kingdom is a secret to none. Mr Hillel Neuer, Director of UN watch, had famously said “Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist the town fire chief. It’s absurd.”
The brave move by the United States has only exposed what was an open secret in diplomatic circles, that the UNHRC is a farce, and beckons the question whether India too should take cue to prevent farcical organisations from being used by radical elements to implement their interests in the name of ‘human rights’.