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US returns to UN Human Rights Council after a gap of three years

The US under the Trump administration withdrew from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council in June 2018, accusing the council of being a “hypocritical and self-serving organization” and biased against Israel.

SNS | United Nations |

The US was elected a member of the UN Human Rights Council, following its withdrawal in June 2018 by former President Donald Trump.

In a vote at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, the US was elected along with 17 other countries for a three-year term beginning on January 1, 2022, reports Xinhua news agency. The US won 168 of the 193 votes.

In the same regional group, Finland and Luxembourg won 180 votes respectively.

The US under the Trump administration withdrew from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council in June 2018, accusing the council of being a “hypocritical and self-serving organization” and biased against Israel.

The US seat was later taken by Iceland in a by-election.

After President Joe Biden took office in January this year, Washington declared the following month that it would re-engage with the Council as an observer.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the withdrawal in 2018 “did nothing to encourage meaningful change, but instead created a vacuum of US leadership”.

“With our election back to the @UN Human Rights Council, the United States will strive to advance a principles-focused agenda at the @UN_HRC, based on our deeply rooted belief that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” Blinken tweeted.

The UN Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world.

It has 47 members, about a third of which are replaced every year so that the Council members serve staggered three-year terms for the sake of continuity.

The UN Human Rights Council describes¬†itself as “an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.”

Biden on Thursday applauded the US’ election to the council, saying in a statement, “I am grateful for the support of nations from around the world for our campaign, and I look forward to the United States once more being a constructive voice that works to help push the Human Rights Council to live up to its mandate and to protect the values we hold dear for all people.”

(With IANS inputs)