U.S. aims to return to U.N. rights body

The Biden administration is continuing its push to re-engage with international organizations - this time, by seeking a seat at the table within the U.N. Human Rights Council.

But Washington also says it will try to shield its ally Israel if it's successful, upholding some criticism of the U.N. body made by former-President Donald Trump.

Trump quit the council in 2018, and the Biden government had already returned as an observer, but is now angling for election to the council again.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the U.N. via video conference:

"I'm pleased to announce the United States will seek election to the Human Rights Council for the 2022-2024 term. We humbly ask for the support of all U.N. member states in our bid to return to a seat in this body."

Elections for three-year membership on the 47-member council are due at the U.N. General Assembly in October.

If re-elected, the Biden Administration said it hopes to eliminate what it calls a "disproportionate focus" on Israel.

The council has a stand-alone item on the Palestinian territories on its agenda every session.

It's the only issue with such treatment - something that both Democratic and Republican administrations have opposed.

The Philippines and Venezuela are both members of the body, but are also currently under formal scrutiny by the council.

Blinken also reiterated U.S. calls for Russia to release opposition figure Alexei Navalny - and those detained during protests.

And said Washington would denounce atrocities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, where activists and U.N. experts say 1 million Muslim Uighurs are held in camps.

Video Transcript

- The Biden administration is continuing its push to re-engage with international organizations, this time by seeking a seat at the table within the UN Human Rights Council. But Washington also says it will try to shield its ally, Israel, if it's successful, upholding some criticism of the UN body made by former President Donald Trump. Trump quit the council in 2018 and the Biden government has already returned as an observer, but is now angling for election to the council again. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to the UN via video conference.

ANTHONY BLINKEN: I'm pleased to announce, the United States will seek election to the Human Rights Council for the 2022 to 2024 term. We humbly ask for the support of all UN member states in our bid to return to a seat in this body.

- Elections for three-year membership on the 47-member council are due at the UN General Assembly in October. If re-elected, the Biden administration said it hopes to eliminate what it calls disproportionate focus on Israel. The council has a stand-alone item on the Palestinian territories on its agenda every session. It's the only issue with such treatment, something that both Democratic and Republican administrations have opposed. The Philippines and Venezuela are both members of the body, but are also currently under formal scrutiny by the council. Blinken also reiterated US calls for Russia to release opposition figure Alexei Navalny and those detained during protests and said Washington would denounce atrocities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang where activists and UN experts say one million Muslim Uighurs are held in camps.