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U.S. to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    8th Feb, 2021


  • Biden administration moves to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council, reversing another key policy of the previous Trump administration.


  • Trump administration withdrew from the council, the world’s most important human rights body, in 2018 over what he and his allies called unfair targeting of Israel.
  • The departure made the United States the first country to leave voluntarily.

The decision

  • Washington is planning to return to the Geneva-based body as an observer to seek electionas a full member.
  • The decision is likely to draw criticism from conservative lawmakers and many in the pro-Israel community.
  • Although the U.S. will have only nonvoting observer status on the council through the end of 2021, the administration intends to seek one of three full member seats — currently held by Austria, Denmark and Italy — from the “Western Europe and other states group” that come up for electionlater this year.


  • The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a United Nations body.
  • The UNHRC was established by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR, herein CHR).
  • Its mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.
  • The UNHRC has 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms on a regional group basis.
  • The headquarters of UNHRC is in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The UNHRC investigates allegations of breaches of human rights in the following cases:
    • freedom of association and assembly
    • freedom of expression
    • freedom of belief and religion
    • women's rights, LGBT rights
    • rights of racial and ethnic minorities

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