Today the United States announced that it is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, the most important international forum for advancing a shared understanding of fundamental human rights and exposing and addressing grave abuses of those rights. The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) issued the following statement:
The United States’ withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council undermines the protection of human rights worldwide and sets a dangerous precedent for countries that commit or permit serious human rights abuses. It sends a reckless signal to the world that the United States is further retreating from the international community, turning its back on people living under oppressive regimes, and fleeing international scrutiny for its own mounting acts of repression and abuse.
This unwelcome and ill-advised withdrawal from the HRC neither relieves the United States of the international human rights obligations by which it and every nation are bound nor insulates it from accountability for its own failures to respect, protect, promote, and fulfill human rights.
As the 70th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights draws near, other States must seize this opportunity to reaffirm their strong commitment to universal human rights, to the international rule of law, and to the institutions that safeguard both. At the same time, the Human Rights Council should take full advantage of the US departure to make real progress in areas where the United States has actively obstructed the advancement of international human rights, including with respect to transnational corporate accountability and the human rights implications of climate change.