The U.S. decision to seek a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council should be met with a qualified welcome.
The Human Rights Council was created in March 2006 to replace the discredited Commission on Human Rights but, if anything, it has performed worse than its predecessor. The council has only one specific country – Israel – on its permanent agenda. It devotes a disproportionate share of its time and resources to one-sided attacks on Israel that willfully ignore Palestinian provocations and violations. And it routinely fails to hold the worst human rights violators, such as North Korea, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, to account.
Our country’s candidacy for a seat on the Human Rights Council is meaningful only if it includes an explicit commitment to push the council onto a fundamentally different path. Success will mean that the Human Rights Council will do what it is supposed to do. But if the council refuses to change direction, then the United States will have to reconsider whether it wants to be part of a body which, rather than promoting human rights, degrades them.