The United States will seek election to the UN Human Rights Council later this year and remain an active observer speaking out about violations worldwide until then, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.
Blinken, addressing the council by recorded video, said that the Biden administration would work to eliminate what he called the Geneva forum's "disproportionate focus" on its ally Israel.
Under former President Donald Trump, the United States quit the council in June 2018 but the Biden government returned as an observer earlier this month.
"I'm pleased to announce the United States will seek election to the Human Rights Council for the 2022-24 term. We humbly ask for the support of all UN member states in our bid to return to a seat in this body," Blinken said.
Annual elections for three-year membership on the 47-member council are due to be held at the UN General Assembly in October. Britain, China and Russia are among current members.
"As the United States re-engages, we urge the Human Rights Council to look at how it conducts its business. That includes its disproportionate focus on Israel," Blinken said.
Israel is the only country in the world whose rights record comes up for discussion at every HRC session, under "Item 7" on the agenda. Item 7 on "Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories" has been part of the council's regular business almost as long as it has existed, which both Democratic and Republican administrations have opposed.
The Israeli government has repeatedly lambasted alleged bias against Israel by the 47-member Human Rights Council.
The United States has opted to stay out of the Human Rights Council before: The George W. Bush administration decided against seeking membership when the council was created in 2006.
The U.S. joined the body in 2009 under then-president Barack Obama.