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U.S. diplomat voices support for Taiwan in human rights speech

ROC Central News Agency

12/15/2020 12:47 PM

New York, Dec. 14 (CNA) U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft on Monday called for comprehensive reforms to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), criticizing the body for empowering China while denying a voice to those, including Taiwan, it mistreats.

In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative U.S. think tank, Craft reiterated the United States' reasons for leaving the U.N. Human Rights Council and proposed a series of reforms that should take place before it considers rejoining.

According to Craft, U.S. President Donald Trump initially tried to reform the council from within, but made "the principled decision" to withdraw in 2018 when the U.S.' proposed changes failed to win support.

"Sadly, the U.N. organization charged with the protection and promotion of human rights ... includes the voices of the very human rights violators it was designed to counter," she said.

One of the 15 members elected to the council in October was China, a country known for "egregious examples of human rights abuses," Craft said.

The "outrage" of such a decision "stands in stark contrast to Taiwan, a true force for good in the world," she said.

In order to truly protect human rights, Craft said, "responsible nations" of the world must come together to demand reforms to the HRC.

These changes should include stricter membership criteria, a higher threshold for election to the council and the elimination of bias against countries like Israel, she said.

Delaying the reforms, Craft said, would betray the victims of human rights abuses by perpetuating "the bitter irony of having to watch the government that abused them sit on the human rights council."

"I cannot turn away from the mistreatment of the Taiwanese, the Hong Kongers, the Tibetans, the Uyghers, the Rohingyas and many more," she said.

The U.N. Human Rights Council consists of 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms on a regional basis.

Fifteen new members of the council will be seated in January: Bolivia, China, CĂ´te d'Ivoire, Cuba, France, Gabon, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who has expressed interest in rejoining the council, has said he plans to nominate career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as Craft's successor after taking office on Jan. 20.

(By Ozzy Yin and Matthew Mazzetta)

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