The nomination of Heather Nauert as US ambassador to the United Nations signals a continuation of the Trump administration’s regressive policies at the UN, says the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC). Nauert, currently the State Department spokesperson, is a former anchor on Fox News and has no prior diplomatic experience.
“Nauert lacks the foreign policy experience and commitment to human rights and multilateralism crucial for this post,” says IWHC Director of Advocacy and Policy Shannon Kowalski.
If confirmed, Nauert would succeed Nikki Haley. As UN ambassador, Haley ostracized civil society, removed the US from the Human Rights Council, undermined sexual and reproductive health and rights, and oversaw an overall decline in US leadership at the United Nations. Nauert’s tenure at the State Department does not indicate that she will take the necessary steps to reengage with civil society and reignite the United States’ commitment to human rights globally, rather than on a politicized basis.
“There is nothing in Nauert’s record to suggest that she would restrain the administration’s efforts to censor language or to undermine and remove UN commitments on gender equality, sexuality education, and sexual and reproductive health and rights,” Kowalski notes.
While at the State Department, Nauert staunchly defended the administration’s decision to scale back reporting on women and LGBTQI individuals, and remove reproductive rights from the State Department Human Rights Reports. In doing so, she argued that the State Department intended to “sharpen the focus of the report on abuses of internationally recognized human rights and the most egregious issues,” disregarding global agreements and sending a clear signal that women’s human rights, and in particular their sexual and reproductive rights, are dispensable.
Reproductive rights have been embedded in UN agreements for more than two decades, since the landmark International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. They are also a key target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—a bold set of global goals aimed at ending poverty and reducing inequality and injustice by 2030, which the US played a critical role in creating. A rollback of these commitments could set back decades of progress for women and girls around the world.
Contact: Liza Kane-Hartnett
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Photo: The White House