US top diplomat Mike Pompeo defended recent discussion on race relations in America as a sign of a healthy democracy; he is pictured April 8, 2020. – AFP photo
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday a UN Human Rights Council vote condemning racism amounted to hypocrisy.
Pompeo defended the recent discussion on race relations in America as a sign of a healthy democracy, and said the council should focus on what he called systemic racial disparities in member countries such as Cuba and China.
“The council’s decision to vote yesterday on a resolution focusing on policing and race in the US marks a new low,” Pompeo said in a statement.
The council took the vote after a debate prompted by protests in the US triggered by the death at police hands of African American George Floyd.
However, a specific mention of racism and police brutality in the US was removed.
This sparked outrage from rights groups, which accused Washington and its allies of lobbying heavily to revise the text — a charge to which the US mission in Geneva declined to respond.
The United States, which had complained of being singled out in the initial text, withdrew from the council in 2018 and was not present on Friday.
In his statement Saturday, titled “On the Hypocrisy of UN Human Rights Council,” Pompeo said discussion in the US about race following the death of Floyd “is a sign of our democracy’s strength and maturity.”
“If the Council were serious about protecting human rights, there are plenty of legitimate needs for its attention, such as the systemic racial disparities in places like Cuba, China and Iran,” he said.
“If the Council were honest, it would recognize the strengths of American democracy and urge authoritarian regimes around the world to model American democracy and to hold their nations to the same high standards of accountability and transparency that we Americans apply to ourselves,” Pompeo added.
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