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May 12, 2017

Human Rights Organizations Call on Haley to Maintain U.S. Presence on UN Council

New York City—Human Rights First today called on Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to maintain U.S. presence on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council and to increase efforts to improve the Council’s membership. The call came in a letter from the organization along with seven other leading human rights organizations, in advance of the upcoming 35th session of the body set to begin on June 6th. The authors of the letter noted that the United States is in a uniquely influential position on the Council to advance universal values and American national interests.

“The Human Rights Council is in need of reform, and we share your objective to improve the body. At the same time, we remain convinced that a U.S. withdrawal from the Council will do more to harm our national interests than working from within. We thus urge you to uphold U.S. leadership while redoubling efforts to improve the Council’s membership, fairness and credibility,” wrote the authors. “What is certain is that the departure of the U.S. from the Human Rights Council would only result in worse, and perhaps even pernicious, outcomes from the only global intergovernmental body addressing some of the world’s most pressing human rights challenges.”

Human Rights First joined with Freedom House, Human Rights Campaign, the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, Freedom Now, the United Nations Association of the United States of America, and Better World Campaign in the letter, which followed public statements from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the United States will leave the Council if it does not reform.

For more information contact Christopher Plummer at PlummerC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3310.