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Engel Statement on Planned U.S. Withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council

ENGEL STATEMENT ON PLANNED U.S. WITHDRAWAL FROM THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on reports that the United States will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council later today:

“The UN Human Rights Council has always been a problem. Instead of focusing on real human-rights issues, the council has used its time and resources to bully Israel and question Israel’s legitimacy as a sovereign state. The irony is that some of the world’s worst human-rights abusers are passing these absurd judgments.

“But the way to deal with this challenge is to remain engaged and work with partners to push for change. Since the United States returned to the Human Rights Council, the number of anti-Israel resolutions has dropped, and the council has focused more on other pressing issues including LGBTQ rights and Syria. The Foreign Affairs Committee has heard testimony in the past about how to improve the council, including ideas such as imposing membership criteria. By withdrawing from the council, we lose our leverage and allow the council’s bad actors to follow their worst impulses unchecked—including running roughshod over Israel.

“American leadership is essential, both dealing with the UN and dealing with challenges all over the world. However, this Administration’s approach when it sees a problem is to take the United States off the field. That undermines our standing in the world and allows our adversaries to fill the void. If reports are accurate, we’ll do so again today, and in this case, we also disadvantage our ally Israel.”