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New UN ambassador could restore US credibility on human rights in China and worldwide


President Joe Biden’s choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, should make promoting respect for human rights a top priority at the United Nations. That means delivering on her promise to aggressively counter what she described as China’s “malign efforts in New York” while restoring the United States role as a trusted voice on human rights.

Previous U.S. administrations have been inconsistent in their defense of human rights at the United Nations, a problem that grew exponentially under the Trump administration. Thomas-Greenfield  should chart a new strategy for the U.S. that would prioritize human rights issues based on their urgency and importance, not whether they involve governments deemed unfriendly to the U.S.

Thomas-Greenfield will want to abandon many policies the Trump administration pursued at the U.N., like stripping out references to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights from U.N. texts. But Thomas-Greenfield does not need to throw out all Trump-led approaches. There is room for continuity on issues like China and Syria.


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