U.S. seeks return to U.N. rights council, points to abuses in N. Korea

WASHINGTON-- The United States on Wednesday announced its plan to return to the U.N. Human Rights Council, calling it an important venue to help protect the human rights of people in countries such as North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington will seek its election to the human rights council that will begin early next year.

"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," Blinken said of a reason for the U.S.' bid for a seat at the U.N. council.

The top U.S. diplomat said the U.S. will work with its allies and partners at the U.N. council to protect 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," Blinken said in a statement.

"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," he added.

The U.S. quit the U.N. human rights council in June 2018 under the Trump administration, which claimed the council was biased against Israel.

Blinken noted such a bias still existed at the U.N. council, but said the U.S. seeks to work from within to change the U.N. body.

"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," he said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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