UN Human Rights Council Needs to Get Its Act Together

Senator Todd Young
2017-06-06 18:40:14
A message from US Senator Todd Young <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/Customers/SenYoung/Todd_Young_Ba nner_logo2.png> The Senate Upholds Commitment and Continues VA Overhaul Today, the Senate voted to increase accountability measures at the Department of Veterans Affairs. As part of the process of improving care for our veterans, Congress has given the department the power to remove officials whose work is not respectful of the mission to serve those who sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms. We cannot allow scandals like recent ones at the Indianapolis <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwishtv. com%2f2017%2f05%2f16%2fsenators-young-donnelly-troubled-by-missing-medic al-equipment-demand-answers-from-va-secretary%2f&redir_log=5134004727738 67> and Peru <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww.jou rnalgazette.net%2fnews%2flocal%2findiana%2f20170510%2fissues-found-at-pe ru-va-clinic&redir_log=689300556443597> VA medical centers to continue. To read more about the new measures, click here. <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=https%3a%2f%2fwww.ve terans.senate.gov%2fnewsroom%2fmajority-news%2fsenators-introduce-bill-t o-increase-accountability-at-va&redir_log=936066101943785> Helping to Empower those with Disabilities I visited Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI) to learn more about their work to empower those with disabilities. EGTI's unique program trains people with academic, social, or communication challenges to work in the healthcare and hospitality fields. Their aim is to cut the employment rate which, for people with disabilities, can go as high as 70%. Read about my visit in The Star Press <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww.the starpress.com%2fstory%2fnews%2flocal%2f2017%2f06%2f01%2fsenator-tours-mu ncie-says-healthcare-reform-is-moving-target%2f359209001%2f&redir_log=29 373592842845> , and learn more about EGTI here <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=https%3a%2f%2fwww.er skinegreeninstitute.org%2f&redir_log=379772474716273> . 5 Hoosier Students Awarded Scholarships to Study National Security Issues It was a privilege to visit with five Hoosier students who were granted prestigious academic scholarships to study national security issues abroad during their trip to Washington D.C. this week. They are an exceptional group of young men and women with bright futures ahead of them. The highly competitive program is run through the Department of Defense. Read more about it at www.nsep.gov <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=https%3a%2f%2foutrea ch.senate.gov%2fiqextranet%2fiqClickTrk.aspx%3f%26cid%3dSenYoung%26crop% 3d13952.6505741.5236421.7000345%26report_id%3d%26redirect%3dhttp%253a%25 2f%252fwww.nsep.gov%26redir_log%3d604203449607135&redir_log=040729671351 246> . <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/Customers/SenYoung/Screen_Shot_2 017-06-06_at_3.54.07_PM.png> Holding the UN Human Rights Council Accountable & Reforming it for Future Success Ahead of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's speech to the UN Human Rights Council, I wrote an op-ed and recorded a podcast on reforms needed at the council in order to ensure the body is doing what it can to protect universal human rights. Read the op-ed and listen to the podcast by clicking here <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww.was hingtonexaminer.com%2ftodd-young-nikki-haley-is-about-to-hold-the-un-hum an-rights-council-accountable%2farticle%2f2624995&redir_log=748829122037 880> , or read the full op-ed below. Todd Young: Nikki Haley is about to hold the UN Human Rights Council accountable Originally published in the Washington Examiner <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww.was hingtonexaminer.com%2ftodd-young-nikki-haley-is-about-to-hold-the-un-hum an-rights-council-accountable%2farticle%2f2624995&redir_log=748829122037 880> Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will address the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva this week. Given the proliferation of human rights violations around the world and the failures of the UN Human Rights Council, I applaud Ambassador Haley's eagerness to hold the council accountable. In advance of her trip, perhaps it is helpful to step back and examine why human rights should play a prominent role in U.S. foreign policy. The Declaration of Independence declared that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." While we know that our nation has spent much of our history trying to narrow the gap between these self-evident truths and our daily reality, it is noteworthy that our founders used the phrase "all men". Today, we would say all men and women, but the point is that our founders did not suggest these unalienable rights were limited to just Americans. If we accept the fact that these rights are not reserved for Americans alone but are instead universal, then we have an obligation to ensure these universal human rights inform not only our domestic policy�but our foreign policy as well. Yet, promoting and protecting human rights internationally is not just a matter of principle or morality, doing so also serves America's national security interests. As Ambassador Haley emphasized in her U.N. Security Council remarks on April 18th, "the protection of human rights is often deeply intertwined with peace and security." As she observed, human rights violations can often serve as "the trigger for conflict." As an example, Ambassador Haley cited the fact that the horrible Syrian conflict that has generated so many threats to American national security�not to mention heart-wrenching human suffering�started when the Assad regime failed to respect the universal human rights of a group of young boys opposed to the regime. So, both our principles and our interests, our values and our security, are advanced when the promotion of universal human rights figures prominently�not peripherally�in U.S. foreign policy. It is both wrong and short-sighted to believe that we can better protect our national security interests by ignoring or sidelining human rights. Perhaps that is why the United Nations Charter, that our country played a pivotal role in establishing, states clearly in Article One that one of the four purposes of the United Nations is to promote and encourage "respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion." American national security interests are best served when the United Nations effectively fulfills this core purpose. For that reason, we want the UNHRC to effectively fulfill its responsibility of "promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all." That's why, as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that oversees the U.N., I convened a hearing on May 25 assessing the UNHRC. As the testimony of the witnesses clearly underscored, the UNHRC has too often failed to promote its important mission. The witnesses echoed the sentiments of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Erin Barclay who said in Geneva in March, "Regrettably, too many of the actions of this Council do not support those universal principles. Indeed, they contradict them." Unfortunately, this should not come as a surprise. Consider the fact that some of the world's worst human rights abusers are on the Council. China and Cuba are members, for example, yet according to Freedom House, they have the worst or second to worst rankings possible for political rights and civil liberties. Additionally, the Council has exhibited a systematic, reflexive, and shameful bias against Israel�our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East. Israel is the only country in the world that is subjected to a permanent agenda item at the UNHRC. When countries with the worst possible human rights records sit on the Council, seek to deflect attention from their egregious human rights abuses, and attempt to pass judgement on Israel�a country with a vibrant liberal democracy�the credibility of the Council is further undermined and the United States must not be silent. America is at its best when it models and promotes respect for universal human rights. We should expect the same from the UNHRC and its members. I look forward to Ambassador Haley taking this message to Geneva this week. .... Thank you for the continued privilege to serve you in the Senate. My mission is to fight on behalf of Hoosiers and the interests that are unique to our state. I look forward to working with you, and sharing our progress, in the days ahead. Until then� In Service, <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/Customers/SenYoung/Todd.png> Contact Todd <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww.you ng.senate.gov%2fcontent%2fcontact-senator&redir_log=089715000385365> You can follow us on social media to receive constant updates on Senator Young's work on behalf of you: Facebook <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww.fac ebook.com%2fSenatorToddYoung&redir_log=890713382703285> Twitter <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/iqClickTrk.aspx op=13158.6534007.5236401.189397&report_id=&redirect=http%3a%2f%2fwww.twi tter.com%2fsentoddyoung&redir_log=920575862515254> Unsubscribe <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/EsurveyForm.aspx __sid=100001&__crop=13158.6534007.5236401.189397> Click here to open a plain text version of this email <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/view_newsletter_setup.aspx _text=Y&link=SenYoung%2501100559%2501100044%2b-%2b06-06-2017%2beNewslett er%250113158.6534007.5236401.189397%2501coats%2540unityfeed.com%2501Unit y%2501Unity%2bFeed%2501%2501> Click here to forward this email <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/view_newsletter_setup.aspx rd=Y&link=SenYoung%2501100559%2501100044%2b-%2b06-06-2017%2beNewsletter% 250113158.6534007.5236401.189397%2501coats%2540unityfeed.com%2501Unity%2 501Unity%2bFeed%2501%2501> Click here to open this e-mail in its own browser window <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/view_newsletter_setup.aspx SenYoung%2501100559%2501100044%2b-%2b06-06-2017%2beNewsletter%250113158. 6534007.5236401.189397%2501coats%2540unityfeed.com%2501Unity%2501Unity%2 bFeed%2501%2501> <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/Customers/SenYoung/iqtrk.gif p=13158.6534007.5236401.189397> <outreach.senate.gov/iqextranet/Customers/SenYoung/iqtrk.gif p=13158.6534007.5236401.189397>

The Senate Upholds Commitment and Continues VA Overhaul

Today, the Senate voted to increase accountability measures at the Department of Veterans Affairs. As part of the process of improving care for our veterans, Congress has given the department the power to remove officials whose work is not respectful of the mission to serve those who sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms. We cannot allow scandals like recent ones at the Indianapolis and Peru VA medical centers to continue.

To read more about the new measures, click here.

Helping to Empower those with Disabilities

I visited Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI) to learn more about their work to empower those with disabilities. EGTI’s unique program trains people with academic, social, or communication challenges to work in the healthcare and hospitality fields. Their aim is to cut the employment rate which, for people with disabilities, can go as high as 70%.

Read about my visit in The Star Press, and learn more about EGTI here.

5 Hoosier Students Awarded Scholarships to Study National Security Issues

It was a privilege to visit with five Hoosier students who were granted prestigious academic scholarships to study national security issues abroad during their trip to Washington D.C. this weekThey are an exceptional group of young men and women with bright futures ahead of them. The highly competitive program is run through the Department of Defense. Read more about it at www.nsep.gov

Holding the UN Human Rights Council Accountable & Reforming it for Future Success

Ahead of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s speech to the UN Human Rights Council, I wrote an op-ed and recorded a podcast on reforms needed at the council in order to ensure the body is doing what it can to protect universal human rights.

Read the op-ed and listen to the podcast by clicking here, or read the full op-ed below.

Todd Young: Nikki Haley is about to hold the UN Human Rights Council accountable

Originally published in the Washington Examiner

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will address the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva this week.  Given the proliferation of human rights violations around the world and the failures of the UN Human Rights Council, I applaud Ambassador Haley’s eagerness to hold the council accountable. 

In advance of her trip, perhaps it is helpful to step back and examine why human rights should play a prominent role in U.S. foreign policy. 

The Declaration of Independence declared that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

While we know that our nation has spent much of our history trying to narrow the gap between these self-evident truths and our daily reality, it is noteworthy that our founders used the phrase “all men”.  Today, we would say all men and women, but the point is that our founders did not suggest these unalienable rights were limited to just Americans.

If we accept the fact that these rights are not reserved for Americans alone but are instead universal, then we have an obligation to ensure these universal human rights inform not only our domestic policy—but our foreign policy as well. 

Yet, promoting and protecting human rights internationally is not just a matter of principle or morality, doing so also serves America’s national security interests.

As Ambassador Haley emphasized in her U.N. Security Council remarks on April 18th, “the protection of human rights is often deeply intertwined with peace and security.” As she observed, human rights violations can often serve as “the trigger for conflict.”

As an example, Ambassador Haley cited the fact that the horrible Syrian conflict that has generated so many threats to American national security—not to mention heart-wrenching human suffering—started when the Assad regime failed to respect the universal human rights of a group of young boys opposed to the regime.

So, both our principles and our interests, our values and our security, are advanced when the promotion of universal human rights figures prominently—not peripherally—in U.S. foreign policy.

It is both wrong and short-sighted to believe that we can better protect our national security interests by ignoring or sidelining human rights.

Perhaps that is why the United Nations Charter, that our country played a pivotal role in establishing, states clearly in Article One that one of the four purposes of the United Nations is to promote and encourage “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

American national security interests are best served when the United Nations effectively fulfills this core purpose.

For that reason, we want the UNHRC to effectively fulfill its responsibility of “promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”

That’s why, as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that oversees the U.N., I convened a hearing on May 25 assessing the UNHRC. 

As the testimony of the witnesses clearly underscored, the UNHRC has too often failed to promote its important mission.  The witnesses echoed the sentiments of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Erin Barclay who said in Geneva in March, “Regrettably, too many of the actions of this Council do not support those universal principles. Indeed, they contradict them.”

Unfortunately, this should not come as a surprise.

Consider the fact that some of the world’s worst human rights abusers are on the Council.  China and Cuba are members, for example, yet according to Freedom House, they have the worst or second to worst rankings possible for political rights and civil liberties.

Additionally, the Council has exhibited a systematic, reflexive, and shameful bias against Israel—our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East.  Israel is the only country in the world that is subjected to a permanent agenda item at the UNHRC.

When countries with the worst possible human rights records sit on the Council, seek to deflect attention from their egregious human rights abuses, and attempt to pass judgement on Israel—a country with a vibrant liberal democracy—the credibility of the Council is further undermined and the United States must not be silent.

America is at its best when it models and promotes respect for universal human rights.  We should expect the same from the UNHRC and its members.  I look forward to Ambassador Haley taking this message to Geneva this week.

.....

Thank you for the continued privilege to serve you in the Senate. My mission is to fight on behalf of Hoosiers and the interests that are unique to our state. I look forward to working with you, and sharing our progress, in the days ahead. Until then…

In Service,

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