Nikki Haley to UN: I Don't Think Human Rights Means What You Think It Means

One gets the impression, after reading Nikki Haley’s Washington Post op-ed on the United Nations Human Rights Council, that the lady sits at her table at the UN in shock most of the time. She must hear the proclamations of commitment to human rights from places like Cuba and Venezuela and look around to see if anyone else heard what she just heard.


And you gotta give it up for the lady: it takes real guts to take a job where one of your first tasks is to report back on whether or not the United States should remain a part of the UN’s Human Rights Council because the Council has become, quite frankly, a joke. Or, as the lady herself wonders in her op-ed, whether it has become “merely a showcase for dictatorships that use their membership to whitewash brutality.”

She is particularly critical of Venezuela and Cuba, both members of the Council, and both well-known to impart brutal retribution on their citizenry for running afoul of their despotic leadership. Venezuela, for example, is in dire straits as its economy collapses, there are riots in the streets as starving citizens attempt to fight back against the government that is starving them and now airlines are beginning to halt flights to the nation. And yet, as Haley writes, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro “recently thanked the international community for its ‘universal vote of confidence’ in that country’s commitment to human rights”:

Venezuela is a member of the council despite the systematic destruction of civil society by the government of Nicolás Maduro through arbitrary detention, torture and blatant violations of freedom of the press and expression. Mothers are forced to dig through trash cans to feed their children. This is a crisis that has been 18 years in the making. And yet, not once has the Human Rights Council seen fit to condemn Venezuela.

Cuba’s government strictly controls the media and severely restricts the Cuban people’s access to the Internet. Thousands are arbitrarily detained each year, with some political prisoners serving long sentences. Yet Cuba has never been condemned by the council; it, too, is a member.


She is also highly critical of Russia for its invasion of Crimea that led to thousands of deaths and injuries.

Haley is set to travel to Geneva this week to make the concerns of the United States clear to the UN, and give them a chance to make changes to the Council. One of those changes is to ensure that the biggest human rights abusers are not allowed seats on the Council, and that the UN in general stop singling out Israel for condemnation.

Whether or not the UN’s Human Rights Council, given that it has already become a “haven for dictators” listens to Haley is anyone’s guess. But should they continue on with their charade, the U.S. will likely pull itself out of membership on the Council on the advice of Haley. And she seems to be a woman of her word.

But one thing the Council would do well to remember: if the U.S. goes, their $10 billion a year in funding may soon follow suit.


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