On June 19, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States of America’s withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council. While this comes as a surprise for advocates of social justice, a peek into the Council’s history yields disturbing controversy, especially for the dignity of the human person.
Ambassador Haley’s explanation for the withdrawal was a claim that the Council was hypocritical and biased against certain countries and belief systems. LifeSiteNews, in 2017, reported a series of the Council’s efforts to deliberately exclude unborn children as those protected by the United Nation’s “right to life.” Several other UN organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund, have expressed their approval of birth control as a fundamental right that should be provided to all countries. Fears have grown that there is a growing effort to list abortion as such a “human right.”
Currently, members of the Council include Afghanistan, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. A fairly young collective, formed in 2006, the Bush administration declined its opportunity to join, citing potential for bias. Ambassador Haley has long been threatening action, primarily on the basis of the Council’s alleged sway against Israel. However, the Council’s approach to the right to life, though not stated by Haley, must certainly be noted as well.
While many Americans, and Israel, have applauded the move as a win for true human rights, others are concerned that the lack of American presence will only further lead the Council astray from productive goals. Time will tell what difference American withdrawal will make, but the United States’ decision has certainly given its counterparts a resounding message.