Current Affairs Why did U.S. quit UNHRC? What are Human Rights?

Why did U.S. quit UNHRC? What are Human Rights?


Dheeksha Mahesh@NFC

The United States on Tuesday withdrew from United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement.

U.S. raised two issues-  First, the UNHRC was bias towards Israel and made disproportionate allegations of human rights violation by Israel. Second, the UNHRC member countries namely Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt thwarting US efforts to reform the council.

What are Human Rights?

If I had to teach my child what is Human Rights, first thing I would tell her/him is not to hurt other fellow human being and inculcate the quality of being humane.

What is to being Humane?

Humane meaning in dictionary throws up so many words – Compassionate, kind, kindly, kindhearted, considerate, understanding, sympathetic, tolerant, civilised, good, good-natured, gentle…

Is it so hard to be Humane? How did it begin?

If you look around the world, it does looks like it. But why? Because, every living being is driven by basic instinct of survival and self-protection. But one cannot go on killing others for survival and self-protection just like animals in the forest. Then we would be an extinct species…

This is where man differs from animals. Just like at home, how we are organised and we have set of rules and regulations to follow, etc… in the same way Man formed a society, government, brought in set of rules and regulations for people to follow and live together humanely. Punishment was given to those who violated the rules.

As survival and self-protection was taken care of, and as society grew, some miscreants gave in for their other emotions like jealousy, selfishness, greed, power. These miscreants started discriminating and treating fellow human beings inhumanely. They lost the emotion called ‘empathy’. Discrimination was made in terms of race, colour, creed, caste, gender, slaves… just to grab the power and wealth.

Luckily, all human beings did not lose being humane. It was these people who relentlessly fought for fellow ill-treated human beings. That’s how Human Rights started. Many cultures and civilizations across the world have developed ideas about human beings worth and dignity, but the notion that humans are ‘rights bearers’ is specifically European in origin.

How did it take international character?

It was post second world war 1945, it took a global character and many treaties and agreements on Human Rights were signed by the countries across the world.

The first of such international agreement was the – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. It has 30 articles and to mention few – every individual is entitled to basic dignity, equality, liberty, brotherhood, right to life and the prohibition of slavery.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) formed in 1946 was responsible for creating and formation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations. It was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2006.

The aim of UNHRC is to promote and protect human rights around the world, as well as investigating alleged human rights violations. The headquarters of UNHRC is in Geneva, Switzerland.

The 47 member states are elected by the UN General Assembly staggered three-year terms on a regional group basis. The UNHRC members meet 3 times a year – March, June and September.

The UNHRC investigates allegations of breaches of human rights in UN member states, and addresses important thematic human rights issues such as freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and religion, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.(1)

Is U.S. action justified?

Has U.S. replaced humanely emotion with selfishness? U.S. form a significant member of UNHRC. There are lot of other burning human rights issues that needs to be addressed across the world. Walking out from UNHRC for just two reasons, may not seem to be justified.

Things to do:

Every day just note down one humane act by you.

What is…

Disproportionate: Not in proportion to

Allegations: A claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.

Extinct: Vanished, lost, died out

Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Miscreants: A person who has done something wrong or unlawful.

Discrimination: The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Staggered: To place or arrange in alternating

Breaches: An act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct.

News4children, a news portal on current affairs tapered especially for children with academic input. Every article is written in simple language with full background information, so children can understand the news better. Most of the articles include academic input, activities and vocabulary as well.



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