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Snubbing UN and Fight Against Racism, Trump Admin Blocks Seat on Key Committee From Being Filled

Not only did it not renominate Gay McDougall, appointed under Obama, it decided to leave the seat vacant

Gay McDougall, who has spoken about how leaders "should focus on convincing people that racism is not in their interest." (Photo: Fordham Law) 

President Donald Trump was accused of depriving "the U.S. of a much needed voice at the U.N. on the struggle against racism" after his administration moved to block the reappointment of a human rights lawyer to sit on a key committee, leaving the position vacant.

Politico reported

A State Department official said the White House intervened to prevent the expected renomination of a human rights lawyer chosen by former President Barack Obama for the 18-member U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [CERD].

The official said the Trump administration may simply have run out of time to find a replacement before a deadline. Even so, the official added, "it cements the narrative that the Americans just don't care about these kinds of things anymore."

Calling the development "disappointing," Joshua Castellino, executive director of Minority Rights Group, said, "It is symptomatic of a government seemingly high on ideology but bereft of ideas on how to tackle the real issues at stake, while generating alternate crises and noise to boost support for itself."

The lawyer in question is Gay McDougall, whom the Center for Constitutional Rights praised for her experience. In a Twitter thread on Monday, the New York-based group criticized the administration's move:

Also criticizing the development was Jasmine L. Tyler, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch's U.S. Program, who called it "yet another example of the U.S.'s backpedaling from multilateralism/international organizations," noting "a series of U.S. withdrawals from international treaties and supporting organizations."

She also noted that the

move comes at a time when the U.S.'s mandatory submission for periodic review to the CERD is almost a year and a half overdue. In 2017, the CERD issued an early warning after President Trump failed to denounce anti-semitism at the race riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Heather Heyer was murdered. Recently, 90 groups urged U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to invite the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Racism to investigate racial discrimination and xenophobia in the U.S.

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