|The US quit the council in 2018 under the previous president Donald Trump Fabrice (Photo by=COFFRINI AFP)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] GENEVA: The United States is returning to the UN Human Rights Council three-and-a-half years after its dramatic walk-out - time seized upon by China to assert wider influence. AFP reported. The United Nations General Assembly elects new members of the UN's top rights body on Thursday (Oct 14), with countries kicking off their three-year council term from Jan 1.
Though member states are chosen in a secret ballot, the election is a non-contest, with 18 candidate countries standing for 18 seats. The US under the previous president Donald Trump quit the council in 2018, accusing it of hypocrisy and obsession with haranguing Israel. But when Washington returns under President Joe Biden, it will come face to face with an emboldened China that took advantage of the US absence to flex its muscles.
Faced with growing polarisation, some fear that Washington's return will reinforce the trend and see the council dominated by pro-US and pro-Chinese rivalry. Marc Limon, executive director of the Universal Rights Group think-tank in Geneva, said the United States has "basically focused on just one thing, which is China", since re-engaging with the council earlier this year as an observer. The council in Geneva is made up of 47 member states elected by the UN General Assembly in New York.