The first session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is due to open on Monday and run until March 23. Of the three annual sessions of the council, this is the only one to feature a “high-level segment” that attracts top diplomats.
The US has announced its plans to re-engage with the UNHRC, from which Donald Trump withdrew almost three years ago. The decision has drawn criticism from conservatives and pro-Israel voices, who have derided the council and echoed Trump administration complaints that it was too quick to overlook abuses by autocratic regimes and governments – and even accept them as members. Although the US will have only nonvoting observer status, for now, US officials say the administration intends to seek one of the three full-member seats left vacant when the current terms of Austria, Denmark, and Italy expire at the end of 2021. China and Russia also come back as members after periods of the Council.
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