“The United Nations Human Rights Council” and the principle of human rights are two things diametrically opposed to each other. The makeup of the council, which is determined by geographic location and dictates anti-American conduct by the leadership of nondemocratic regimes, is proof of that.
Council member Venezuela, for example, is a dictatorship that puts opposition leaders in prison, is anti-American, and is aligned with the ayatollahs’ regime in Iran. The Congo is ruled by a dictator who murders those who oppose him and is keeping his seat in violation of his country’s constitution. Pakistan is accused of gross, wholesale human-rights violations, from routine executions to religious oppression, and serves as a haven for anti-American terrorism.
Another member of the UNHRC is Afghanistan, which sends out terrorist groups to “take care of” opponents of the regime. Burundi, which is accused of crimes like kidnapping, torture and execution of those who voice opposition, refuses to cooperate with investigators from the council of which it is a member. Cuba also continues to suppress opposition, free media and human rights. Other stars on the list of member states despite their consistent human-rights violations are Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Iraq, Tunisia, Qatar and China.
The signs are not new. In 2008, the UNHRC showed its real face when all 47 of its members approved the appointment of Richard Falk, who is known for his particularly venomous attitude toward the United States, for a six-year term as the council’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories.
Falk accused then-President George W. Bush of whitewashing conclusions about 9/11, and even hinted that right-wing American elements might have been involved. After the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Falk quoted the poet W.H. Auden: “Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.”
The U.S. withdrawal from the UNHRC reveals the council’s hypocrisy. It is taking away member-states’ ability to use the superpower that leads the free world as cover for their routine attacks on human rights, undermine American interests, and promote the goals of blatantly anti-American nations.
This is the latest move of a consistent policy: only recently, the United Stattes withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which was never approved by Congress.
The deal promised Iran’s anti-American government generous, immediate, and practical aid in exchange for vague promises about the future. It did so despite the ayatollahs’ knife moving ever closer to the throats of Saudi Arabia and the other pro-American Gulf states, and Iran deepening its foothold in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
The American administration’s recent steps are signaling to the United Nations and other entities that are given U.S. aid that from now on, continued support will be conditional upon them adopting pro-American policies.
The days when benefits and resources were funneled into the pockets of entities that spit in America’s face are over. The U.N. is at risk of losing financial support that comprises about 20 percent of its budget, including a quarter of the funds that go to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which underwrites education in hatred and incitement to terrorism. These moves are important not only for America’s interests, but serve as an important message to the entire free world.
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.