United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy,
New York, October 6, 2017
Today’s election is yet another example of why the Human Rights Council (HRC) lacks credibility and must be reformed in order to be saved. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country infamous for political suppression, violence against women and children, arbitrary arrest and detention, and unlawful killings and disappearances, has been elected to serve on what is supposed to be the world’s preeminent human rights body. In fact, the DRC – a country under investigation at the Human Rights Council – ran unopposed. That calls into serious question the General Assembly’s methods of selecting membership in the Human Rights Council.
The HRC cannot endure many more blows to its credibility before it is rendered absolutely meaningless. That is why the United States is leading an effort to reform the HRC, most recently through a ministerial meeting during UN General Assembly High-Level week, where more than 40 countries called for a more effective HRC. Countries that aggressively violate human rights at home should not be in a position to guard the human rights of others. Human rights are too important to let a backward and broken system go unchecked and unreformed.
People around the world are losing their inalienable rights and freedoms at the hands of oppressive regimes. We need a unified voice of moral clarity with backbone and integrity to call out abusive governments. This election has once again proven that the Human Rights Council, as presently constituted, is not that voice.