The decision of the United States to leave the United Nations Human Rights Council today is a mistake. This is not to say that the United Nations Human Rights Council is not a flawed instrument made more ineffective by the dictatorships that sit on the international human rights body. This is not to say that UN bureaucrats have not behaved poorly and are deserving of criticism and at times ridicule, but the answer is not disengage and leave the UN Human Rights Council to all these bad actors but challenge them and present a principled alternative.
The first time the United States withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland was in 2006 and they did not return until 2009, but few remember it. So do the bad actors vying for a seat on the Council.
Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and China are currently on the UN Human Rights Council despite their horrid human rights records. North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Nicaragua have also been member of this human rights body and will be again. They will be able to further leverage their influence on a Council without the United States. It will be a tougher going for victims of repression world wide.
Speaking of victims of repression, while many focused on events in Geneva and in Washington, DC, in Central America a bloody and increasingly dangerous human rights crisis continued to unfold.
In Nicaragua since April 18, 2018 over 200 people have been killed for political reasons. It happened again today in the town of Masaya. The town was once a bastion of support for Ortega and his Sandinista rebels when they overthrew the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in 1979, but today it has become a center of resistance to the Ortega regime.
Human rights have been in retreat worldwide for the past twelve years and things are getting worse in many quarters. The United States leaving the UN Human Rights Council does not help to change these trends and only encourages the worse actors to further cripple what was once an august human rights body.
Nicaragua's strongman Daniel Ortega must be stopped https://t.co/aURFRq3f4E pic.twitter.com/AgO6DsCxWx— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) June 19, 2018