Diplomacy

Amb. Haley: New UN Rights Chief Must Speak Out Against Council’s Failures, Anti-Israel Bias

United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said in a statement that the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, must stop the bias agenda against Israel at the UN Human Rights Council, The Jerusalem Post reported on Friday.

“The UN has failed to adequately address major human rights crises in Iran, North Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere, or stop its chronic, disproportionate obsession with Israel. It is up to Ms. Bachelet to speak out against these failures rather than accept the status quo. We hope that she does. The United States will,” Haley said in a message read out at the UN General Assembly by U.S. Deputy Ambassador Stefanie Amadeo.

The ambassador added: “The Commissioner can have a strong voice on these critical issues, even when the Human Rights Council fails to live up to its name. It is incumbent on the Secretary-General’s choice, Ms. Bachelet, to avoid the failures of the past.”

The commissioner does not control the UNHRC, but it is run through that office and part of Bachelet’s new job will be to report to the body. The U.S. withdrew from the UNHRC in June, branding it a “cesspool of political bias,” citing its chronic obsession with Israel in the face of other pressing human rights issues.

The General Assembly in New York on Friday unanimously approved Bachelet’s candidacy. Some critics voiced concerns over her appointment, citing her positive statements in the past about former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Among the issues immediately on her table, is the “blacklist,” compiled by the commissioner’s office, of companies that do business with areas of Israel over the pre-1967 lines – the West Bank, what is referred to as East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Bachelet replaces Jordanian national Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who has often been singled out for his hostility towards Israel. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said he welcomed Zeid’s departure, explaining the he “never missed a chance to invent falsehoods and lies when it comes to Israel.”

[Photo: Presidenta de la República, Michelle Bachelet / Flickr ]