On Thursday, December 21 the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resolution passed 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, despite the fact that in the days leading up to the vote Donald Trump and Nikki Haley threatened to cut off US aid to any countries who voted against the United States.
Meanwhile, a day earlier, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al Hussein announced that he is stepping down next year. This was a shock. Zeid is universally admired in the human rights community as a blunt voice unafraid of speaking truth to power — indeed he has been sharply critical of Donald Trump. That could be why he’s stepping down. In a letter to staff, he cited an in hospitable geo-political environment for human rights advocacy as his reason for leaving the post.
On the line to discuss these issues, plus have a look back at the big stories that drove the UN agenda in 2017 is Richard Gowan, a UN expert with the European Council on Foreign Relations. This is a lively conversation that examines how some big trends that started in 2017 will shape world affairs and diplomacy at the UN in 2018.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn the implications of this lopsided vote against the United States at the United Nations, why Zeid’s resignation is a big deal, and what to expect in the UN in 2018 have a listen.