Opinion

Opinion: Confirm Keith Harper for UN human rights council job





Support for Keith Harper, a member of the Cherokee Nation, to serve as the United States Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council:
Keith Harper, a noted advocate for Native American and human rights, will be a light piercing through the darkness at the UN. Having known Mr. Harper for many years, I witnessed his dedication to principle first hand when in 2001 I served as Head of Delegation to the UN Conference Against Racism (“Durban Conference”). As the conference disintegrated into an Anti-Semitic “hatefest” the delegation of Jewish and other NGOs from the United States and throughout the world joined the US and Israeli Ambassadors in walking out of Durban Conference in protest. In solidarity, Keith and the entire Leadership Conference of Civil Rights delegation also left the Durban Conference in protest of the Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israeli castigation. Years later, the American Jewish community remains most appreciative of Mr. Harper’s principled response to the situation on the ground in Durban.

Mr. Harper’s career successfully advocating on behalf of the rights of Native Americans and others demonstrates his dedication to protecting and promoting the human rights of all people. Importantly, as a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Mr. Harper would be the first member of a federally recognized tribe to serve as a United States Ambassador. This year at the UN is a focus on indigenous persons. It would be most appropriate for the US to have a respected Native American as our Ambassador to demonstrate our own commitment to the rights and respect of all persons.

The UNHRC needs a strong and immediate US presence in support of human rights willing to fight against the evil-doers of the world who skate from responsibility on the issues of human rights and the dignity of all men and women. The inverted morality which permeates the United Nations cannot be countenanced by the United States. Silence and absence is never acceptable. The President’s nomination of Keith Harper is pending confirmation by the United States Senate. Swift confirmation of Keith Harper as US Ambassador is not only warranted but necessary, as it will ensure an immediate active and visible presence for Western values at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Get the Story:
Richard D. Heideman: US leadership needed as UN Human Rights Council convenes (The Times of Israel 2/25)

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