Vice President Mike Pence called on the United Nations to end its “forum for anti-Semitism” against Israel and to boot repressive countries off the U.N. Human Rights Council.
In a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Mr. Pence noted that former President John F. Kennedy had warned the world body 50 years ago not to become a “forum for invective.”
“Yet today, its Human Rights Council has become exactly that — a forum for anti-Semitism and invective against Israel,” Mr. Pence said. “We call on the Security Council and this entire body to immediately reform the membership and practices of the Human Rights Council — and end the Human Rights Council’s blatant bias against our cherished ally, Israel.”
Mr. Pence said the Human Rights Council, which includes countries such as Cuba and Venezuela, has approved more than 70 resolutions condemning Israel “while largely ignoring the world’s worst human rights abusers.”
“Cuba sits on the Human Rights Council — an oppressive regime that has repressed its people and jailed political opponents for more than half a century,” Mr. Pence said. “Venezuela sits on the Human Rights Council, a dictatorship that undermines democracy at every turn, imprisons its political opponents.”
He said the U.N. “must reform the Council’s membership and its operation.”
On Tuesday, President Trump called the Human Rights Council “a massive source of embarrassment.”
“The truth is, the Human Rights Council doesn’t deserve its name,” Mr. Pence said.
The meeting was focused on reforming U.N. peacekeeping operations, and the vice president said such actions require the U.N.’s “willingness to call out senseless attacks on innocent people around the world.”
As an example, Mr. Pence pointed to the systematic attacks by Burma’s security forces against minority Rohingya Muslims.
“Burmese security forces responded to militant attacks on government outposts with terrible savagery — burning villages and driving the Rohingya from their homes,” he said. “The images of the violence, and its victims, have shocked the American people, and decent people all across the world. And now we are witnessing a historic exodus. Over 400,000 Rohingya — including tens of thousands of children — have now been forced to flee from Burma to Bangladesh, and more following every day.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Tuesday with Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and urged the Burmese government and military to speed humanitarian aid and address human rights abuses.
“While we welcome Aung San Suu Kyi’s comments that returning refugees have nothing to fear, the United States of America renews our call on Burma’s security forces to end their violence immediately, and support diplomatic efforts for a long-term solution,” Mr. Pence said. “President Trump and I also call on the Security Council and the United Nations to take strong and swift action to bring this crisis to an end — and give hope and help to the Rohingya people in their hour of need.”
He added, “Unless this violence is stopped, as justice demands, it will only grow worse — and it will sow seeds of hatred and chaos that may well consume the region for generations to come — and threaten the peace of us all.”