Rights groups, advocacy organisations oppose Heather Nauert as America’s next envoy to UN

New York | Some rights and advocacy groups have opposed President Donald Trump‘s decision to nominate chief State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as America’s next envoy to UN, saying she is “unqualified” and lacks the foreign policy experience crucial for the post.

Trump on Friday picked Nauert to succeed Indian-American Nikki Haley as US ambassador to the United Nations. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation, called on the Trump administration to withdraw its nomination of Nauert for the position of UN ambassador.

CAIR said Nauert promoted “Islamophobic smears” while employed as a Fox News anchor. It said, in 2013 she criticized special swim classes for a group of Somali-American girls, describing the classes as the “minority becoming the majority at one community pool. Sharia law is now changing everything.” The group said other than her current position as State Department spokesperson, Nauert has no apparent diplomatic or government experience or expertise. “Heather Nauert does not represent our nation’s diversity or its commitment to treating all Americans with equality and respect,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), which advances the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls worldwide through advocacy and strengthening women’s movements, said the nomination of Nauert as US ambassador to the United Nations “signals a continuation of the Trump administration’s regressive policies at the UN.” It said 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,” IWHC Director of Advocacy and Policy Shannon Kowalski said in a statement. Critical of US ambassador Haley’s record at the UN, IWHC said she “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,” it said. Kowalski added that 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.

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