Press Releases

The Global Justice Center Urges the US to Strengthen International Human Rights Bodies, Not Subvert Them

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — April 17, 2017

[NEW YORK, NY] -  On April 18, the United States, who holds the presidency of the UN Security Council in April, plans to hold an open briefing on human rights. Many fear that this is an attempt by the Trump Administration to undermine the UN Human Rights Council, an institution that has long been the target of Republican ire (US UN Ambassador Haley recently called it “so corrupt”), while continuing to pay lip service to notions of human rights. This is a move that would seriously complicate the enforcement and advancement of human rights around the world.

"The irony of the Trump Administration trying to host the ‘first ever’ debate on human rights at the Security Council isn’t lost on anyone,” says Akila Radhakrishnan, Vice-President & Legal Director of the Global Justice Center (GJC). “Trump and his administration in this first 120 days have shown nothing but a callous disregard for human rights with nearly every step they have taken, from the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, to the Muslim Ban, to steps to take away health care coverage for millions of Americans.”

The debate also comes at a time of global insecurity due to escalating tensions between nations that are playing out at the UN. Just this week, Russia vetoed an 8th Security Council Resolution on the situation in Syria. Further both, Russia and China oppose the proposed debate on human rights in the Security Council as a standalone agenda item and as a result the briefing may take place under the existing agenda item “maintenance of international peace and security.”

“Human rights are regularly discussed by the Council in different contexts and we would welcome a stronger focus on human rights by the Security Council, but the approach the US is taking is risky as it will likely lead to further polarization and instrumentalisation human rights,” says Stephanie Johanssen, GJC’s UN and EU Director.

“While Haley is correct that human rights abuses are often the cause of conflict and the Security Council should seriously address human rights violations, this also appears to be an attempt to undermine the UN Human Rights Council ,” says Johanssen. “The United States should be trying to strengthen all UN human bodies that fight for human rights, not look for ways to subvert them or cut their funding.”

For more information contact:
Stephanie Olszewski (New York), Global Justice Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +1.212.725.6530 ext. 211

Tags: Impunity, Press Release