Many United Nations Human Rights Council members use the council to "whitewash brutality" instead of focusing on human rights, and widespread changes are needed, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley argues in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.
"When the council focuses on human rights instead of politics, it advances important causes," Haley wrote in her article, which published on Friday. "In North Korea, its attention has led to action on human rights abuses. In Syria, it has established a commission on the atrocities of Bashar al-Assad’s regime."
However, the organization "too often" ignores "the victims of the world's most egregious human rights violations," said Haley.
Venezuela remains as a member, she said, "despite the systematic destruction of civil society by the government of Nicolás Maduro...Mothers are forced to dig through trash cans to feed their children. This is a crisis that has been 18 years in the making."
Cuba also remains, she pointed out, even though its government controls the media and restricts access to the Internet, while political prisoners serve long sentences.
Neither has ever been condemned by the council, though, said Haley.
A Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee in May discussed whether the United States should
remain as a council member, as it questioned if the group is "merely a showcase for dictatorships that use their membership to whitewash brutality," Haley also wrote.
She said she does still believe the Human Rights Council's vision can still be achieved, but not unless it changes.
Haley said she plans to outline her proposals for change next week, when she will travel to
Geneva to address the council. She is also concerned that the group "wrongly" singles out Israel for criticism.
"When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel, a country with a strong human rights record, and just seven resolutions against Iran, a country with an abysmal human rights record, you know something is seriously wrong," she wrote.
She also said she will call for council membership to be determined through competitive voting to keep the worst human rights abusers from becoming members.
The Human Rights Council was formed in 2006, and has also come under criticism from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. who said in March that the United States is "not taking withdrawal off the table."
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