We Were Right to Leave the Human Rights Council

by

Monday, June 25, 2018


Early Tuesday evening, the United States withdrew from the feckless United Nations Human Rights Council. An organization more akin to a Boys and Girls Club than the protector of Human Rights they proclaim to be, the HRC has long been awash with hypocrisy, inaction and ineptitude.

The U.S. was right to withdraw its membership from an organization that counts Afghanistan, China, Qatar, India, Pakistan, Iraq and the Democratic republic of Congo— nations in the top ten global index of modern slavery— as current council members. The organization’s ‘everybody gets a turn’ election model allows nations such as Cuba and Saudi Arabia to be members, while Syria and Sudan are seriously considered for membership.

The HRC has no real power nor authority and their track record of resolutions leaves much to be desired. The disproportionate amount of interest and resolutions against Israel paint the picture of a biased and vindictive organization with no real standards for what actions they consider worthy of Human Rights Violations.

Since the formation of the organization in 2006, the council has passed more resolutions against Israel than any other nation, despite the fact that 14 current council members are considered nations that are “not free” as ranked by Freedom House (a list that does not include Israel). The HRC has overlooked the fact that, current council member, Afghanistan ranks as the number one oppressor of women in the world— with seven other members ranking in the top 25. Thirty-two of the forty-seven-member body are nations where gay marriage is still illegal, and, in most them, it is still socially unacceptable.

Are we to take seriously the ramblings of a body that refuses to take its own findings seriously? Current Human Rights Council members are guilty of beheadings, harassing journalists, activists and political dissenters, and state sanctioned violence against civilians. The U.S. has historically been and continues to be a better protector and enforcer of Human Rights globally than the Human Rights Council has ever been. While we are not perfect as a country, the mere fact that the press can report on government malfeasance, without fear of retribution or prosecution, places us above the reproach of countries such as Pakistan, India, Cuba, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China who routinely censor, imprison and execute those who speak out against their governments.

The U.S. has no business counting itself among countries such as those and our standing as a global power guarantees that, regardless of whether we hold membership, our authority will be recognized. Until 2009, the U.S. was not a member of the Human Rights Council, specifically because of the organization’s track record of ineffectiveness and public bias against Israel.

Since its founding, I ask supporters of the Human Rights Council to point to a tangible point of success for the organization or its ability to effect change in the world. There continue to be organizations around the world, and in countries with poor Human Rights records, who are active and effective executors and bring real change. That is where the U.S. should focus its resources and leverage its global power.

Not only was it practical for the U.S. to leave the Human Rights Council, it was a morally sound decision. To be a beacon of hope, freedom, and opportunity in the world, we must first distance ourselves from countries who stand institutionally opposed to those principles and then deal internally with the issues facing us as a nation.

Until the Human Rights Council implements wholesale changes to its council membership, voting procedures and agenda, it cannot and will not be effective. The organization calls itself a watchdog for Human Rights and justice, yet is riddled with fleas in the form of its own leadership.

You cannot be a watchdog with no teeth.

Tosin Akintola is a 23-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2017 with a B.A in Political Science and minors in Public Administration and American Politics. He spends most of his days writing articles, poetry or music or binge-watching his latest Hulu/Netflix vice.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Tosin Akintola

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Tosin Akintola is a 23-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2017 with a B.A in Political Science and minors in Public Administration and American Politics. He spends most of his days writing articles, poetry or music or binge-watching his latest Hulu/Netflix vice.

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