U.S. highlights human rights at U.N. council, but some states wary

Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:27pm GMT

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS, April 18 (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday held what it dubbed a historic U.N. Security Council meeting on the link between rights abuses and conflict, but dropped a push for the broad issue to become a council fixture after at least six members opposed it.

Diplomats said Russia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and Bolivia were against the move and that the United States, council president for April, did not risk the measure being put to a rare procedural vote as Senegal's support was uncertain.

Such a vote requires nine in favor, and vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China cannot be used.

The opposing council members say rights discussion should be confined to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council - which Washington accuses of being anti-Israel and has threatened to quit - and the 193-member U.N. General Assembly third committee.

Egypt also voiced concern that some countries used human rights as a "back door" to undermine state sovereignty, citing Iraq and Libya as examples.

Security Council discussions of human rights situations in specific countries, such as Syria, North Korea and Myanmar, are not new and most of the 16 U.N. peacekeeping missions include human rights mandates approved by the council.

"We've never dedicated a meeting to the broader question of how human rights violations and abuses can lead to a breakdown in peace and security," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.

She said rights abuses were "one of the clearest possible indicators that instability and violence may follow and spill across borders."   Continued...

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