The US Is Back to the UN Human Rights Council

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The United States withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council during Donald Trump’s office in 2018, but with Joe Biden coming to power they drastically changed course and applied for membership in the Council. The UN General Assembly on Thursday, October 14, voted for the return of the United States to the UN Human Rights Council. A simple majority of votes was required for this. The United States became one of the 18 countries elected to this body. In particular, it includes such countries as Lithuania, Luxembourg, India, Argentina, as well as Kazakhstan, Qatar, the UAE and Eritrea. Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the United States intends to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council for a period from 2022 to 2024. “We humbly ask all UN member states to support our striving to return to the Council”, Blinken said on February 24. At the same time, he noted that the new US administration partially shares the criticism of the Council expressed by the previous government under the leadership of President Donald Trump. In particular, according to Blinken, it’s about the Council's biased attitude towards Israel. At the same time, the United States intends to make sure that the Council member countries meet “high standards” in the field of human rights. US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council In 2006, the UN Human Rights Council replaced the UN Commission on Human Rights, which had existed since 1946. The members of the Council are 47 countries elected by the UN General Assembly for three years, they are not eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms of office. The group of Eastern European States has six seats in this body. Asia and Africa have 13 seats each, Latin America has eight, and the group uniting Western European states, the USA, Canada and Israel have seven seats. Currently, among others, the Council includes Russia, China and Germany. Each member of the Council is elected by a majority vote of the members of the General Assembly by direct secret ballot. According to the proclaimed principles of the UN, the members of the Council must comply with high standards of human rights protection. If they are convicted of massive and systematic violations of human rights, their membership in the Council may be suspended by two-thirds of the votes of the UN General Assembly members. The United States announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council in 2018. Trump criticized this intergovernmental body for its attitude towards Israel and the lack of reforms. DW