For more information: June 19, 2018
Keith Fernandez, 305-668-5994; 202-225-8200
The United Nations Human Rights Council was founded a few years ago to remedy the lamentable track record of its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights, where some of the worst human rights violators prevented any real efforts to help victims of repression around the world. But little has changed, and China, Cuba, Venezuela and other regimes continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes. While a member of the Commission, the Cuban government said it would not accept “one iota” of its recommendations. It has been a scandal that members of the Commission would not provide full access to their political prisons to UN inspectors. Cuban “diplomats” in Geneva are known to have threatened witnesses and assaulted an NGO representative who had denounced violations of human rights in Cuba and other regimes at a UNCHR hearing -- in full view of a large number of diplomats. The Cuban diplomat claimed diplomatic immunity but left Geneva months later. The United States has just announced its withdrawal from the Council. Please read below the statement of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on this matter. She served for several years as chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.
Ros-Lehtinen Applauds Administration Decision To Withdraw From UN Human Rights Council
“For far too long, the Council has been a platform used by the world’s worst human rights violators to shield themselves from criticism of their abysmal records while attempting to isolate and delegitimize the democratic Jewish State of Israel”
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States’ membership from the UN Human Rights Council. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“It’s long past due, but today’s decision by the Administration to withdraw the United States from the UN’s Human Rights Council is welcome news. For far too long, the Council has been a platform used by the world’s worst human rights violators to shield themselves from criticism of their abysmal records while attempting to isolate and delegitimize the democratic Jewish State of Israel. As long as the body’s representation includes countries like Cuba, Venezuela, China, or other governments that actively work against what the Council is supposed to promote and support, and as long as it continues to push an anti-Israel bias and an anti-American agenda, the United States should not legitimize it with our presence. The Council lost its credibility long ago and it has a long way to go and numerous reforms to undertake before it can begin to repair that reputation. And until we see those reforms, the United States should not waste hard earned taxpayer dollars by being a part of such a sham.”
NOTE: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen is the author of H.R. 2232 – Promoting Equality and Accountability at the United Nations Act of 2017. Among its provisions, the bill would prohibits U.S. funding, in any form, to be made available for the UNHRC or the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights )OHCHR) until the Secretary of State makes certain certifications, including but not limited to: (1) U.S. participation in the UNHRC is in the national interest of the U.S.; (2) Permanent agenda item 7 is removed from the Council’s agenda; and, (3) that the UNHRC membership has certain standards for membership. The bill also states that it is the sense of Congress that the U.S. should use its voice, vote and influence at the UN to ensure that the UNHRC removes agenda item 7 and meets certain requirements for membership to the body and that it is shall be the policy of the U.S. to take steps to repeal the UNHRC Resolution that created the database, commonly referred to as the “blacklist,” of entities involved with “settlements” and to mitigate the potential damage to Israel’s economy as a result of the database.