“Venezuela is the last country that should sit on a council that’s supposed to protect human rights,” Haley wrote in a scathing op-ed in the Miami Herald on Sunday. “And yet, because of the corrupt rules for membership in the HRC, the Maduro regime has a real chance of winning.”
Before Costa Rica mounted a bid for the HRC, Venezuela was one of two Latin American countries running for the region’s two allotted spots in this week’s election, essentially guaranteeing it a seat. Brazil is also seeking to join the HRC. Haley beseeched U.N. members to vote for the Central American country over Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s “criminal, socialist, narco-state.”
Haley said that while she expected opposition from Russia and China to her efforts to reform the long-maligned council while she was the U.S. ambassador, she was surprised at the complacency of countries that traditionally supported human rights.
“It’s difficult to say which was worse: the tolerance we encountered for human-rights violators or the hypocrisy of the countries that should have known better,” she said. “Almost all the pro-human-rights countries agreed on the need for reform of the Council. But they refused to take a stand in public.”
That complacency, Haley writes, is why the United States decided to leave the Human Rights Council during her tenure. She does, however, see Thursday’s vote for new members of the world’s foremost human rights watchdog as a chance at partial redemption for the body.
“The United States must continue to fight for the protection of human rights and human dignity. That is who we are. But the fight cannot be ours alone,” Haley said. “If the U.N. General Assembly elects Costa Rica instead of Venezuela, we will know that a majority of the world’s countries agree.”
Human Rights Council members serve three-year terms on a rotating calendar with a specific amount of spots allowed for countries from various geographical regions. There are 47 total member states on the Council, which are chosen by secret ballot.