RNA - Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the UN, is free to say that the UNHRC is a “hypocritical” body that “makes a mockery of human rights.” But she is way off the line to claim that the US, a morally reprehensible regime that commits war crimes and violates human rights on a daily basis, is not a protector of human rights abusers and despicable regime.
Lest she forgets, the US is also the only country not to have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It has become the norm for the US government to separate migrant kids from their parents after President Donald Trump enacted a “zero tolerance” policy for unauthorized border crossings in January, calling for undocumented families to be separated.
Under International Law, entering a country without the right papers is not a criminal offense and does not warrant jailing children. This has already forced the UN to call on the US to end this approach, arguing that it represents an ongoing human rights violation. In the words of the UN, “The US should immediately halt this practice. The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child."
Certainly, the US is not fit to preach other countries on human rights because it is awash with human rights violations in other issues as well. The US poses as "the guardian of human rights" and a self-styled "human rights judge" while its own human rights record remains tarnished and shows continued deterioration:
- Serious infringement on US citizens' civil rights
- Systematic racial discrimination
- Severe flaws in American-style democracy
- Widening rich-poor divide
- Discrimination and assault against migrants
- Travel ban and discrimination against Muslims
- Discrimination against women, children and people with disabilities
- Continued violations of human rights in other countries
Further still, race relations in the United States have continued to deteriorate, and racial discrimination exists in law enforcement and judicial organs. According to a new report by the US Sentencing Commission, black male offenders receive sentences on average of 19.1 percent longer than those of similarly situated white male offenders. The report stresses that rich-poor divide has expanded in the US, with an increasing number of homeless people.
On the other hand, the US-led military operations in the Middle East have caused heavy civilian casualties. The Guantanamo Bay detention camp continues to detain and torture foreigners. US military occupation and operations in Syria have caused a large number of civilian casualties. The same is happening in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya.
According to Fars News Agancy, the US-led coalition and US Marines continue to help Saudi Arabia and its collation to bomb or shell schools, mosques and bridges as well as residential neighbourhoods, hospitals, cultural relics and refugee camps in Yemen. They also attack Syrian government forces, which are at the forefront of the war on ISIL and Al-Qaeda. The United States is violating the UN Charter by conducting a war of aggression against Syria.
It is against this backdrop that the US decision to quit the UN Human Rights Council has to be welcome news for many long-suffering nations, even for many people in America. The decision to leave the body follows years of US criticism for bashing Israel and its human rights violations in occupied Palestine. The US government, which is one of the biggest facilitators and violators of human rights is not fit to remain a member, much less make decisions on sensitive issues at the Council.
In summation, the US withdrawal is not surprising. Israel has praised the decision, a usurper regime that continues to attack and destroy Palestinian lives on a daily basis in occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. It’s all the reason why the international civil society is better off not looking to the United States to protect and promote human rights anywhere in the world.
It is now up to the remaining members to uphold a strong and vibrant Council. There is no doubt that the UNHRC is crucial to holding states to account, particularly those that refuse to end their occupation regimes and military campaigns, and are leading a concerted, aggressive effort to violate basic human rights in many countries around the world. Hence, no matter the US and its allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia are a member of the UNHRC or not they should never be allowed to escape justice and continue their disrespect for international law.