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Presbyterian leader urges U.S. to reconsider leaving UN Human Rights Council

Letter sent to U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley

by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

ST. LOUIS — The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations is hoping the U.S. will reconsider its decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the decision on Tuesday, after the U.N. human rights chief leveled criticism at President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Ryan Smith, director of the church’s ministry at the UN, sent a letter to Haley, urging her to take a second look at the decision.

“The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a historic commitment to human rights and our faith in Jesus Christ calls us to stand for rights of all people in accordance with God’s wish for humanity,” he said. “While we recognize the sins of our past, the United States has worked to stand as a beacon of human rights around the world, this decision removes us from that important global position.”

In his letter to Haley, Smith writes “We are disheartened as this news comes on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNHR), a landmark historic document in moral consciousness that has been a beacon of hope and purpose throughout the world.”

The PC(USA) has had a presence at the United Nations since 1945 and has held special consultative status on the UN Economic and Social Council since 1998.

The U.S. relationship with the council has been rocky for years, alleging that it is biased against Israel. The U.S. has also criticized the council for including countries with a poor track record on human rights.

Meantime, the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCC) has also opposed the US withdrawal from the council saying “U.S. disengagement from its international and treaty obligations is regrettable and alarming. We urge President Trump and other elected leaders to participate in the international community in a constructive manner.”

The entire letter is available at this link.

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