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US wants UN Human Rights Council to serve its own political interests — Russian envoy

September 21, 9:48 UTC+3 UN

According to the Russian diplomat, the Americans are not satisfied with the way the UNHRC operates

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© EPA-EFE/LAURENT GILLIERON

UN, September 21. /TASS/. By calling for the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to be urgently reformed, the US is trying to turn it into a mechanism that would serve the American interests, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in an interview with TASS.

He also doubts that Washington’s initiative would find massive support among the UN member states.

"Americans are not satisfied with the way the UNHRC operates, because they think that states are residing there that have no right to be there: Cuba, Venezuela and others. The task is to turn the Human Rights Council into a mechanism that would serve their political interests. I doubt that all the other states would agree with it," the minister said.

On Tuesday, the US, UK and the Netherlands made a joint statement in which they demanded urgent reforms for the UNHRC on the pretext that "serial human rights violators" are admitted to it. The three countries called on other UN member states to start work to reform the UNHRC this year. At Wednesday’s debate in the UN Security Council, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the Human Rights Council had no right to be called so, because states that are damaging the UN values are part of it.

UNHRC activity

The UNHRC was established in 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) that was widely criticized for partiality. The Council is comprised of 47 states, each of which is elected by the majority of votes of the UN General Assembly members by way of direct secret ballot. The US has been vocally criticizing the activity of this UN body in recent months for being too much concentrated on Israel and its occupational activity in Palestine. On March 14, the Foreign Policy magazine reported that the US might secede from the UNHRC if its administration did not start reforming structures accountable to it.

Gatilov reiterated that when a decision to establish the UNHRC was taken, it was supposed to focus on providing human rights support to countries. "However, what actually happened is politicization of the Human Rights Council’s activity," the senior diplomat said.

The HRC’s activity is, in fact, accusing "unwanted regimes of human rights violations," he said. The Council’s decisions may later be used as a basis for taking "specific measures against violators" in the UN Security Council. "This is, no doubt, absolutely unacceptable and runs counter to the goals initially faced by the Human Rights Council," he noted.

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