US rejoins UN Human Rights Council after three years
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US rejoins UN Human Rights Council after three years

The US has been elected into a 3-year term to the UN Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly. The US ran unopposed in the election session and received 168 votes out of all 193 members in the General Assembly. The election occurred on Thursday in the Human Rights Council Office located in Geneva.

The 3-year term starts in January. President Biden has reiterated that  “human rights will be the centre of our foreign policy,” a campaign promise he announced since becoming President in early January. The news was particularly of concern to critics of Presiden Biden as many criticized Biden for abandoning Afghans left behind in Afghanistan. Reuters has provided a review that showed that the Biden administration has been hesitant in certain human rights situations. Such situations include leaving major natural gas projects that fund the Myanmar military junta and also not denouncing the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia.  

The Trump administration left the U.N. general assembly in 2018. The administration alleged that the UN has an “unending hostility towards Israel”, with former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the UN as “protectors of human rights abusers.” Many critics of the UN also alleged that while the UN is a crucial human rights governing body, many elected members such as China, Russia, and Cuba also have questionable human rights records.

This is a series of attempts that the Biden administration has taken to reverse the Trump administration’s efforts of American isolationism. The US has rejoined the Paris climate accord and World Health Organisation. The administration has also restored federal funding to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, an agency that helps Palestinian refugees in the US.