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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Co-Chairs Regret U.S. Withdrawal from the U.N. Human Rights Council

Jun 20, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, regret yesterday’s decision by the Trump Administration to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Co-Chairs recognize that the Council has been inconsistent in its promotion of human rights on a number of fronts. These include a disproportionate targeting of Israel and the election to the Council of countries that are serious violators of human rights. But the two human rights leaders consider that the United States can best defend universal rights by working to strengthen the Council from within rather than by disengaging.

“Leading in the area of human rights has been a part of our history and legacy since World War II,” Hultgren said. “The United States should continue to set an example by using its influence to strengthen a council in need of moral clarity amid confusion. Historically, we've made a positive impact at the U.N., and we should continue to do so by engaging and building positive relations among member nations.”

In a letter to President Trump in July 2017, the Co-Chairs noted that the Human Rights Council “actively advances human rights around the world in many different ways.  These include advocating for prisoners of conscience in the international arena, convening emergency sessions to address war crimes, and shining a spotlight on human rights abuses in countries by establishing commissions of inquiry.  This important work needs to continue with the involvement of the United States.”

“Engagement on the Council remains the best path forward to safeguarding human rights, peace, and security for both American citizens and those across the globe,” said Rep. McGovern. “I urge the Administration to reverse its decision and return to the table.”

115th Congress