US returns to UN human rights council

The United States is returning to the United Nations Human Rights Council after more than three years of absence. Of the 193 countries in the General Assembly of the organization of nations, 168 gave their support in a secret ballot.

Washington’s three-year term in the council of 47 countries begins on 1 January. China and Russia are already in it. President Joe Biden said when he took office that human rights play a central role in his foreign policy. His government now has the opportunity to make that happen in the UN context.

Former President Donald Trump announced in June 2018 the US withdrawal from the Geneva Human Rights Council due to alleged bias against Israel and lack of reform. After his departure, the United States had already returned as an observer.

Members of the Human Rights Council may not sit for more than two consecutive terms of three years. Candidates shall be elected by secret ballot in geographical groups in order to ensure uniform representation. Countries elected today are Kazakhstan, Gambia. Benin, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Paraguay, Honduras, Luxembourg, Finland, Montenegro, Lithuania. Re-elected Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia, India and Argentina.

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