Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, delivered remarks this afternoon at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on the U.S. withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council and the importance of continued U.S. leadership on human rights around the world.
“We are a special nation with a special message for the world. We are a country founded on human dignity; on the revolutionary idea that all men are created equal with rights including, but not limited to, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you take this truth seriously – as Ambassador Kirkpatrick did, as I do – it is non-negotiable. You don’t sell out to appease those who deny it. And it’s not a political chit to be traded for something of greater value. If you take it seriously, you use your voice. You fight for it, even if that means you fight alone.”
“Judged by how far it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ greatest failure. It has taken the idea of human dignity – the idea that is at the center of our national creed and the birthright of every human being – and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics. And that is a great tragedy. I don’t come to this conclusion happily, or lightly.”
“The right to speak freely, to associate and worship freely; to determine your own future; to be equal before the law – these are sacred rights. We take these rights seriously – too seriously to allow them to be cheapened by an institution – especially one that calls itself the ‘Human Rights Council.’ No one should make the mistake of equating membership in the Human Rights Council with the support for human rights. To this day, the United States does more for human rights, both inside the UN and around the world, than any other country. And we will continue to do that. We just won’t do it inside a Council that consistently fails the cause of human rights.”
“As long as we have a voice, we must use it to advocate for these mothers and children. I will use my voice. Not just because I am a mother. Not just because I am an ambassador. But because I am an American. And America can no more abandon the cause of human rights than abandon itself.”