Statement by the Tánaiste on US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council
News20 June 2018
Statement by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., following US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council
"I deeply regret the announcement by the United States that it has decided to withdraw from the Human Rights Council, the primary forum worldwide for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights. The Council offers a valuable platform to address human rights violations wherever they occur and to support and encourage countries to improve their human rights records and comply with their international human rights obligations.
Ireland values the opportunity we had to serve on the Human Rights Council from 2013 to 2015, where we worked closely with the United States, and we continue to participate actively in its deliberations. The Council sometimes falls short of what Ireland would regard as the ideal and I am conscious that there can be a diversity of views on matters before it. Nevertheless, I believe that it is imperative that countries such as the United States and Ireland, which have long championed human rights, continue to engage with countries which do not share our values and that we seek to effect positive change on human rights issues. The Council will be poorer without the presence of the United States.
Recalling the leading role played by Eleanor Roosevelt 70 years ago in securing agreement on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is troubling that with the US withdrawal from the Human Rights Council, there will now be one less voice to challenge the chorus of those who seek to decry and diminish the universal values of human rights. At a time when human rights are increasingly under threat I would urge the United States to reconsider this step and decide to work from within the Council to improve its effectiveness."
20 June 2018