United States Rejoins The U.N. Human Rights Council

This week, the United States was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, a council that it left voluntarily under the Trump administration in 2018. During Donald Trump’s tenure as the President of the United States, American officials cited the council as a biased organization focused on agendas alternative to the main goal of ensuring the security of human rights worldwide. In a denouncement of the council and their dealings, America voluntarily exited their position. Now, the United States has taken a turn in the opposite direction and has been elected back onto the council. 

Earlier this year, Joe Biden pledged to rejoin the council in a concerted effort to increase the nation’s international involvement after Trump’s isolationist political strategy. The Secretary of State commented on the re-entry by saying “We will work hard to ensure the council upholds its highest aspirations and better supports those fighting against injustice and tyranny around the world.” The changes the United States wants in the council namely revolve around the organization’s treatment of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Human Rights Council has been criticized multiple times for its allegedly unjust treatment of Israeli operations. U.S. Counsellors allege that the Human Rights Council perceives Israel as the “enemy” in this conflict, and with Israel being a major ally of the United States, America hopes that with their presence on the council, this will quickly change. State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated, “If we are to help shape institutions – to help them deliver on their highest aspirations, which is what we intend to do with the Human Rights Council, to help them promote the values, the interests that the United States and our partners share – we need to be there.” Without involvement from one of the most powerful nations in the world, it is difficult to see inequalities like this being resolved. As Ned Price commented, it is paramount that the United States is present to provide their point of view on all matters that cross the Human Rights Council’s desk. 

In my opinion, I believe that it is extremely valuable that the Biden administration has made a concerted effort towards involving the United States in international discussions again. The United States is entrenched in the power structure of our planet from a political and economical perspective, and without a major player like themselves holding a seat at the table, it feels as if any discussions or decisions that the council may make are ultimately irrelevant without the support of the largest political players in the world. 

Councils like the U.N. Human Rights Council are extremely important for world peace because political powers require a platform where they can deliberate on issues that concern multiple populations and organize themselves to create a peaceful resolution. It can be said that initiatives like the Human Rights Council stop war and violence because they maximize the efficiency of international political discussion, allowing political powers to settle their differences through communication rather than brutality. With the newfound involvement of the United States in the United Nations Human Rights Council, we can expect this organization to have more leverage in political channels all around the world and the human rights of America’s allies will be further protected by the U.N. international involvement must be endorsed in all nations by both its citizens and dominant political figures.