Sullivan Calls on Blinken to Rescind Invitation for UN “Human Rights” Council To Investigate America

“This invitation to investigate our own country under the authority of this Council is an insult to the American people and a mockery of actual human rights atrocities being committed around the world”

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to rescind the Biden administration’s invitation for investigators from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to scrutinize the United States’ human rights record. He also called the administration’s intent to rejoin the council following America’s withdrawal from its seat during the Bush and Trump administrations “misguided.”

In his letter, Sen. Sullivan pointed out that the UNHRC membership includes some of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers, including China, Cuba and Venezuela. Additionally, Sen. Sullivan argued that the council has been silent and ineffectual in the face of violent suppression of peaceful demonstrators in Cuba, chronic human rights abuses in Iran, and genocide and unprecedented surveillance of its citizens committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Below is the full text of the letter.

The Honorable Antony Blinken

Secretary of State    

U.S. Department of State                                      

2201 C Street, N.W.                                                  

Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Blinken: 

I write today with significant concern over the recent decision by the Biden administration to extend an official invitation to Special Rapporteurs from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to visit the United States and scrutinize our country’s record on human rights.

As I know you are well aware, UN Special Rapporteurs are typically dispatched to areas of the world to investigate allegations and conduct fact-finding missions in countries accused of gross human rights violations. Historical examples include but are not limited to Iran, Somalia, North Korea and Belarus – all nations, unlike the United States, routinely threatening and suppressing individual liberties and freedoms.

Additionally, the idea that the United States should rejoin the UNHRC – a body that includes Communist China, Socialist Venezuela and Communist Cuba – is misguided. The U.S. rightly withdrew from its seat on the Council during the Bush and Trump administrations because of the body’s shameful history of routinely enabling chronic human rights abusers within the Council’s own ranks. This membership includes the Chinese Communist Party, which is actively engaged in government sponsored genocide against the Uyghur people and continues to widely censor, abridge, monitor, and surveil its citizens to a degree rarely seen in human history. Socialist Venezuela, also on the UNHRC, continues to brutally suppress the freedom of expression, association and assembly of its people. Finally, the Communist Cuban regime – also a member of the Council and designated by the Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism – is currently in the throes of a violent state-driven crackdown on its citizens who are bravely and peacefully protesting in the pursuit of freedom. This invitation to investigate our own country under the authority of this Council is an insult to the American people and a mockery of actual human rights atrocities being committed around the world.

In our meeting prior to your confirmation, we had a robust discussion on the importance of Biden administration officials refraining from embarking upon an “apology tour,” criticizing decisions made by past administrations abroad – something I also spoke at great length with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield prior to her confirmation. While I agree with your statement that “great nations such as ours do not hide from our shortcomings; they acknowledge them openly and strive to improve with transparency,” I would also remind you that our country is resilient and, as Americans, we have a long history of addressing our shortcomings on our own as we strive towards a more perfect union. We certainly don’t need to provide propaganda opportunities to the countries on the UNHRC led by Communist and authoritarian governments with deplorable records on human rights, and that is exactly what your invitation will do.

I respectfully ask you to rescind this invitation and publically recognize this important fact: the United States has done more to liberate men, women and children across the globe from tyranny and oppression – literally hundreds of millions of people – than any other country in human history. 


Senator Dan Sullivan


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