Newsroom / Press Release

Better World Campaign President: “UN Human Rights Council Will Be Less Effective Without American Leadership”


Washington, D.C. (June 19, 2018) – Better World Campaign President Peter Yeo issued the following statement in response to the United States decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council:

“We are deeply disappointed with the Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council, the premier intergovernmental human rights body at the global level.

“In response to the announcement, 12 civil society organizations sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo urging the Department of State to review this decision, to seek reelection to the UN Human Rights Council in 2019, and to continue to advance reforms in the Human Rights Council.

“Today’s decision is counterproductive to American national security and foreign policy interests and will make it more difficult to advance human rights priorities around the world.  In fact, a 2017 study by the Council on Foreign Relations found that two successive terms of U.S. membership on the UN Human Rights Council improved its performance in several ways.

“First, U.S. involvement strengthened the council’s commitment to action within specific countries like Burundi, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, and Syria; fortifying norms like freedom of association, assembly and religion; as well as the protecting the rights of at-risk populations.

“Second, the CFR Report noted a significant decline in anti-Israel resolutions during U.S. membership and concluded, “U.S. participation in the UNHRC can advance U.S. interests and lessen anti-Israel bias while supporting measures to avert and de-escalate human rights crises, thus reducing the likelihood of costly military interventions.”

“Without strategic U.S. engagement at the Council as a member, the U.S. loses a platform to influence the course of human dignity globally. Forfeiting U.S. seat on the UN Human Rights Council only serves to empower those countries that do not share American values on the preeminence of universal human rights.”

About the Better World Campaign

The Better World Campaign works to foster a strong relationship between the U.S. and the UN to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The Better World Campaign engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations. Learn more at:

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