Africa: Statement by the Spokesperson on the United States' decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council

press release

The United States today announced its decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council, to which they were elected in 2016 for a three year mandate.

The US has always been at the forefront of the protection of human rights around the world and has for many years been a strong partner for the European Union in the Human Rights Council. Today's decision risks undermining the role of the US as a champion and supporter of democracy on the world stage. The European Union will nevertheless continue  to defend human rights and fundamental freedoms, whether in multilateral fora or around the world, also by cooperating with the US whenever possible.

The promotion and protection of human rights is at the heart of the EU's foreign policy and a central pillar of the UN system. For its part, the European Union remains steadfastly and reliably committed to the Human Rights Council as the United Nations' main body for upholding  human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide. We reaffirm our support to the effective and efficient functioning of the Human Rights Council and remain committed to cooperating with all countries and with civil society in order to strengthen the Council, while protecting its achievements.

We share the objective to make the Human Rights Council more efficient and therefore remain strongly engaged in the ongoing efficiency efforts led by the Human Rights Council President. The EU is and will continue to be a staunch supporter of multilateralism and the wider UN system.

We will remain fully engaged and committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which we this year proudly celebrate the 70th anniversary, and whose values and principles are inseparable from those of the European Union itself.

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