US Leaves UN Human Rights Council

Washington has decided to walk out of the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the body of hypocrisy. The US has long cited concerns about the body’s "anti-Israel bias," according to RT.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley announced the decision at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“The US is officially withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council,” Haley said, calling it a “hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

 "American participation is the last shred of credibility the council has,” Haley claimed. “That is precisely why we must leave.”

"The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights. Worse than that, it has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy,” Pompeo said, blasting the council for passing more resolutions against Israel than against the rest of the world combined.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement and thanked the US for  what he called “courageous decision” to leave the body, which he called a “biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization."

This is the first time a member of the council would leave the body voluntarily. The US was halfway through its three-year term on the 47-member panel.

On Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein criticized Washington over the “unconscionable” policy of separating children of immigrants who cross the border illegally and holding them in detention centers.

“I call on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children,” al-Hussein said.

While the timing of the US exit from the UN body coincides with this criticism, Washington’s objections to the Human Rights Council over the years have mostly been in regard to Israel. Ambassador Haley has accused the council of a “relentless, pathological campaign” against Israel, and said the US would leave unless the body gets rid of its “chronic anti-Israel bias.”

The George W. Bush administration boycotted the council at its inception, but the Obama administration decided to “re-engage” with the body in 2009. Even so, in 2011 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused the council of “structural bias”.

Domestically, some critics of President Donald Trump are citing the move as proof his administration does not believe in human rights and rule of law.

The decision “sends a clear message that the Trump administration does not intend to lead the world when it comes to human rights,” said Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware), who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Last month, when the council voted to investigate the killing of over 100 Palestinians in Gaza protests and accused Israel of excessive force, only the US and Australia voted against.

H.M

Share