Russia and China will join the UN Human Rights Council. The US should too.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping wave during a welcoming ceremony for the BRICS summit on November 14, 2019, in Brasilia, Brazil. | Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Despite the council’s newest members, America would be better off rejoining the UN’s human rights body.

The United Nations’s premier body for protecting human rights has elected serial human rights abusers, including Russia and China, to the panel, once again calling into question whether it’s actually an important platform to address the plight of millions — or an anachronism.

The Geneva-based, 47-member UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) does two main things: It passes nonbinding resolutions on human rights issues around the world, and it oversees the work of experts who investigate violations in specific countries. Its supporters, those of whom in the US typically lean left, say it’s a place where nations can address issues that don’t usually garner the world’s attention. Its critics, who mostly lean right, argue it’s a toothless organization that kowtows to authoritarians and harbors a deep anti-Israel bias.

Detractors gained an upper hand in the debate this…



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