US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council puts funding in doubt, Glimmers of hope for refugees, UN’s resolution on Palestinians was mostly a win, European left walks an immigration tightrope, Mohamed Salah is changing perceptions about Muslims

A roundup of global commentary for the July 2, 2018 weekly magazine.

Toya Sarno Jordan/Reuters
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers remarks to the press together with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announcing the US's withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council at the Department of State in Washington, June 19, 2018.

The Manila Times / Manila

US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council puts funding in doubt

“On ... June 18, the UNHRC opened its 38th session in Geneva,” writes Ken Makabenta. “Before the day was over, the body was facing questions about its future.... In a series of developments [recently], the rug has literally been pulled from under the feet of the UNHRC and its army of special rapporteurs.... [Among those developments], the United States formally withdrew from UNHRC.... [T]he US under Donald Trump is forcing the [United Nations] to change. Since Trump took office, the US has quit the UN cultural agency Unesco, cut UN funding, and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.... Twenty-four special rapporteurs in the council’s budget ... are wondering whether they will still have their jobs.” 

The National / Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

World Refugee Day: Amid a strained UN budget, glimmers of hope

“As the international community mark[ed] World Refugee Day [recently], the [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] has released new figures showing that a record number of 68.5 million people have been displaced from their homes due to war, persecution and natural disasters...,” writes Toby Hayward. “As humanitarian needs have increased, available resources have not followed suit. Despite record giving by many donor countries and extraordinary acts of kindness by people from across the globe, UN agencies like UNHCR are faced with large financial deficits.... However, there are some glimmers of hope for refugees. [In 2016], all 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly pledged to do more to share responsibility for sheltering displaced people and to ease the burden on host countries.” 

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

UN’s resolution for better protection of Palestinians was a win, overall

“The world took little notice of [a recent United Nations] General Assembly resolution ‘urging’ greater protection of the Palestinian people in Gaza and elsewhere in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and ‘deploring’ the Israeli use of ‘excessive, disproportional and indiscriminate’ force against them,” states an editorial. “The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming support of 120 countries, while 45 states voted against it and 8 countries abstained.... This is a moral and political victory for the Palestinians but would hardly change things on the ground.... The use of the word ‘deplore’ rather than ‘condemn’ [regarding] the Israeli use of force is also significant, as it also suggests a certain degree of wavering by the UN General Assembly.... [T]he resolution remains a significant vote of confidence in the Palestinian cause.” 

The New Times / Kigali, Rwanda

The European left is walking an immigration tightrope

“Europe’s established left is facing the threat of extinction,” writes Michael Bröning. “In less than two years, the continent’s social-democratic parties have suffered historic losses.... [O]ne of the most important reasons [for the left’s decline] is as grim as it is simple: European voters are increasingly opposed to immigration, and do not trust the left to limit it.... [C]enter-left parties ... have begun to change course, with social democrats in several key countries changing long-held positions on migration.... On one level, social democrats’ immigration shift is a necessary response to voter demand.... The key is to ensure that policy responses remain morally acceptable.... They clearly cannot copy the crude nativist recipes of the radical right....” 

The Globe and Mail / Toronto

Egypt’s Mohamed Salah is changing perceptions about Muslims

“[Mohamed Salah, the] unapologetically Muslim soccer star [playing for Egypt in the World Cup,] is creating a new lens in which the world views our religion, instead of one tied to extremism and terror: Athletic excellence balanced with religious dedication...,” writes Sheema Khan. “Mr. Salah’s popularity has extended to soccer fans throughout the world for his record-breaking season with Liverpool FC. He has won both the Premier League Player of the year and the Premier League Golden Boot.... He is a role model for Muslim youth, by showing that hard work combined with simple adherence to the faith can lead to success and respect. His message is simple: Be proud of who you are, treat people well and give back to your community.” 

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