NEW YORK—In response to the United States’ decision to withdraw from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel released the statement below: 

“The United States is wrong to withdraw from the UN’s Human Rights Council. The UN Human Rights Council’s flaws are the flaws of its member states—countries that all trade off human rights principles for political, economic, and other goals. No multilateral political body will ever be pure or even close to perfect. While the U.S. is right to press for Council reform, the only way to achieve reform at the United Nations is through engaged, effective diplomacy. Over the years, when the U.S. has built coalitions and mobilized allies it has won critical victories at the Council on protecting global free speech and spotlighting some of the world’s worst human rights violators. For the U.S. to quit now is to abdicate American leadership on free expression and human rights worldwide, ceding the playing field to the cynics and the subverters. At a time when the U.S.’ own credibility on human rights is plummeting, this gesture will only confirm a sinking sense both here at home and around the world that Washington is willfully turning the page on its history of principled global leadership.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator: