Interntional Current Affairs
The United States under President Donald Trump administration has announced its withdrawal from United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) terming it hypocritical and self-serving. It has blamed UNHRC for bias against Israel and refusing to eject members who are violators of human rights.
US had opted to stay out of UNHRC before also: The George W. Bush administration had opted against seeking membership when the council was created in 2006. US joined the council only in 2009 under President Barack Obama.
US withdrawal from UNHRC citing for its chronic bias against Israel could reinforce perception that Trump administration is seeking to advance Israel’s agenda on world stage. Israel has been only country in the world whose human rights record comes up for discussion at every UNHRC session, under “Item 7” on the agenda. Item 7 on “Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories” has been part of UNHRC’s regular business almost as long as it has existed. Moreover, with US withdraw, the council will be left without one of its traditional defenders of human rights. In recent months, US has participated in attempts to pinpoint human rights violations in places like South Sudan, Congo and Cambodia.
Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, US has announced its withdrawal from UN-backed 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, left UN educational and cultural organization and pulled out of Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Other contentious moves taken by Trumph administration are slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum against its key trading partners, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
UNHRC is an inter-governmental body within United Nations system. It is responsible for strengthening promotion and protection of human rights around globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
It was created by UNGA on 15 March 2006 by adopting resolution 60/251 to promote human rights globally. It had replaced former UN Commission on Human Rights. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Members: UNHRC is made up of 47 UN member states which are elected by UN General Assembly (UNGA) with specific number of seats allocated for each region of the globe. Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row.
Functions: Members of the council work to engage countries on improving human rights. They make decisions ranging from exposing violations to recommending that UN Security Council make referral to International Criminal Court (ICC). UNJRC does not have authority to take action but can exert significant pressure on violating country. It can also set up special rapporteurs with mandate to investigate and report human-rights violations and abuses.
The 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum’s Leaders Summit will be held in Lima, Peru from November 19 to 20, 2016.
The theme of the summit is “Quality Growth and Human Development” and the official logo is the architecture of the ancient city of Caral.
It will be the second time Peru hosting to the APEC Summit, previously it had hosted the event in 2008. The 2016 summit will gather leaders from the world’s 21 most important member economies, as well as over 1,500 investors and entrepreneurs.
Agenda for the 2016 APEC summit
Four priority areas were laid out as topics to be discussed. These are Human Capital Development, Regional Food Market, Upgrading SMEs and Regional Economic Integration Agenda. These subjects were chosen to build upon on the discussions from the 2015 APEC summit held in the Philippines.
About Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- APEC is regional economic forum of 21 Pacific Rim member economies that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
- These 21 member countries collectively account for nearly 50% of the world’s trade and about 57% of GDP.
- It was established in 1989 in order to leverage the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific region’s economies and promote free trade in the region.
- Headquarters: Singapore.
- 21 Members Economies: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russian and Vietnam.
- India is observer of APEC since 2011 and has applied for membership.