The Biden administration has announced that it will look to enter the United States back into the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Fox News reports.
The United States has not been a member of the UNHRC since 2018 when then-President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the group. More on that later.
The announcement that the Biden administration will seek reentry to the UNHRC was made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday in a recorded video that was addressed to the UNHRC.
“I’m pleased to announce the United States will seek election to the Human Rights Council for the 2022-24 term,” Blinken said. “We humbly ask for the support of all U.N. member states in our bid to return to a seat in this body.”
The annual UNHRC elections will be held in October of this year. Any country that is elected gets a three-year membership.
Former President Trump withdrew the United States from the UNHRC in June of 2018. He did so for several reasons, as Fox reports.
One of the main reasons has to do with Israel. Trump and his administration have argued that the UNHRC has a strong anti-Israel bias. One senior official said in 2018 that the UNHRC has passed more resolutions condemning Israel than resolutions that have condemned North Korea, Syria, and Iran combined.
Blinken briefly touched upon this point on Wednesday.
“As the United States re-engages, we urge the Human Rights Council to look at how it conducts its business,” Blinken said. “That includes its disproportionate focus on Israel.”
The Trump administration also took issue with the fact that the UNHRC – which, once again, is the U.N. Human Rights Council – has members that have been accused of human rights abuses. This includes China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, and others.
Until the UNHRC election this October, the United States will remain a UNHRC observer. President Joe Biden made this decision upon taking office. It is the most he can currently do to undo Trump’s withdrawal.
Besides rejoining the UNHRC, Biden has also rejoined the Paris accord and the World Health Organization (WHO), and he has indicated that he is looking to rejoin the U.N. education and cultural organization (UNESCO) as well as the Iran nuclear deal. Trump had removed the United States from all of these agreements.