Why Washington was a no show at human rights hearings

Al Jazeera 

The Trump administration's failure to appear at hearings at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on March 21 telegraphs its disregard for international institutions generally and human rights in particular. Trump officials notified the Commission, which is the independent human rights organ of the Organization of American States, a day before the scheduled hearings that it would not attend. State Department official contended that it would be inappropriate to participate since several of the hearings addressed issues under judicial review: the administration's executive actions on immigration and its greenlighting of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which are winding their ways through the courts. But that explanation failed to assuage critics, who argued that Washington's absence erodes its legitimacy, emboldens authoritarian leaders in the hemisphere to shrug off their own accountability and dodge dialogue and presages broader disengagement with international human rights institutions. The move represented an abrupt departure from past practice.