UNHRC - UN Human Rights Council

Humanists shocked to receive ‘bizarre rant’ from United States

UNHRC - UN Human Rights Council
It was officially announced this week that the US has quit the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). This is the first time any nation has ever voluntarily left. When it was first established in 2006, the Bush administration simply did not join, and it was only in 2009 that the Obama administration brought the US in.

So why did they quit?

Bizarre Letter

The day after the US quit the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, wrote a letter to the International Humanist and Ethical Union that blames them for the US leaving.

You can find the full text of her letter here.

The extract that specifically claims that the reason they have left is because of the IHEU reads …

So what is the story here?

The US turned up, made some demands, and everybody says “no” – it was valid criticism of specific proposals. In other words, the IHEU was a joint signatory to a letter sent by 15 advocacy groups at the UN Human Rights Council on 13 June 2018. The letter expressed concern at moves by the US Government to reduce the role for civil society organisations through a process of ‘efficiency savings’.

Because other member states, including China and also Russia, also said “No”, and IHEU signed that letter, the US now claims that the IHEU stance was a contributing factor to their decision to withdraw US membership.

Translation: US turns up, and bully-boy style makes unreasonable demands that boils down to reducing the input that NGOs have. Everybody says “No” and articulates the reasons why. The US then proceeds to throw all its toys out of the pram, storms away to have a good cry, and blames some random NGO for it all.

Welcome to the Trump era of diplomacy.

The IHEU responds

Andrew Copson (pictured), the President of IHEU, has issued the following response …

“We are appalled at this bizarre rant from the United States Ambassador. It betrays a deep and profound ignorance of the work of the IHEU, and humanists around the world, to suggest that we would support the autocratic regimes of China and Russia. Much of our work at the UN is in exposing and opposing those states’ human rights abuses.

“We will continue our vital work to protect and promote human rights around the world. We are sorry to have lost an important partner in the United States but now the world can see how fragile individual states’ support for human rights can be. This in turn illustrates the importance of the international human rights system for us all. We hope that – in happier and more civilised political days to come, the United States will reflect on its decision and agree to return to once again work with us and others to improve the imperfect human rights institutions which are the best hope for humanity.”

Tweets – For IHEU Human Rights truly do matter – having a voice matters

Tweets from the IHEU spell out the precise details …

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