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Putting Human Rights at the Center of U.S. Foreign Policy
February 25, 2021

The United States is committed to a world in which human rights are protected, their defenders are celebrated, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable. Promoting respect for human rights is not something we can do alone, but is best accomplished working with our allies and partners across the globe. President Biden is committed to a foreign policy that unites our democratic values with our diplomatic leadership, and one that is centered on the defense of democracy and the protection of human rights.

Today, the administration took an important step in that direction by announcing the U.S. intent to seek election to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council starting in January 2022. The United States has long been a champion of human rights. If elected to the Human Rights Council, we will use the opportunity to be a leading voice within the Council for promoting respect for human rights.

The Human Rights Council is an important multilateral venue dedicated to furthering international human rights efforts and has played a critical role in promoting accountability for human rights violations and abuses. From investigations into abuses in Syria and North Korea to promoting the human rights for women and LGBTQI persons and other minorities, and combatting racism and religious persecution, the Human Rights Council must support those fighting against injustice and tyranny.

We acknowledge challenges at the Council as well, including unacceptable bias against Israel and membership rules that allow countries with atrocious human rights records to occupy seats they do not merit. However, improving the Council and advancing its critical work is best done with a seat at the table.

We seek to return to the Human Rights Council to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and partners to ensure that this important body lives up to its purpose. We do so with determination to listen, learn, and work toward a world in which human rights are universally respected.