The United Nations Human Rights Council: Is the United States Right to Leave this Club?

Am. U. Int'l. L. Rev. (Aug. 2019), Forthcoming

41 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2019

See all articles by Sarah Joseph

Sarah Joseph

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Eleanor Jenkin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 9, 2019

Abstract

The United Nations Human Rights Council is the key global intergovernmental human rights institution. Yet in 2018, the United States quit this body, citing numerous grievances including dissatisfaction with the human rights records of the States elected to it. Here, we explain how and why the Council functions as it does. First we provide an outline of the Council, explaining its composition, mandate and activities. It is apparent that the Council is not functioning as well as it should in promoting and protecting human rights worldwide. We then place the Council in its political context, including the pervasive nature of politicization within the Council, its fundamental North/South divide, and the reasons behind its infamous bias against Israel. Finally, we suggest a way forward. Using the example of the Council’s treatment of sexual orientation and gender identity (“SOGI”) rights as a case study, we argue that the Council’s potential will only be fulfilled when the majority of its Members take proper “ownership” of human rights rather than continue to treat it as a political football within the broader North/South divide.

Keywords: Human Rights Council, United Nations, United States, Israel, human rights, SOGI rights, LGBTI rights

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Joseph, Sarah and Jenkin, Eleanor, The United Nations Human Rights Council: Is the United States Right to Leave this Club? (April 9, 2019). Am. U. Int'l. L. Rev. (Aug. 2019), Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3368992 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3368992

Sarah Joseph (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Eleanor Jenkin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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