United States withdraws from UN Human Rights Council in major support to Israel

Pauline Gross
June 20, 2018

United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra ad Al Hussein said Monday "the thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable".

Nikki Haley, our splendid United Nations ambassador, issued a blistering critique of the Council, explaining that it has become a "protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias".

These states include Venezuela, China and Saudi Arabia.

Among reforms the United States had pushed for was to make it easier to kick out member states with egregious rights records.

Haley, who issued a warning a year ago that Washington would make good on its threat to leave the council if reforms were not carried through, used even starker language.

In May, the U.S.

Among other reasons for the U.S. withdrawal, Haley named "chronic bias against Israel", its key ally. Other contentious moves have included slapping tariffs on steel and aluminium against key trading partners, recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

The USA was halfway through a three-year term on the 47-member Geneva-based body, and President Trump had long threatened to quit if there was no major overhaul.

The move was criticized by human rights groups and political analysts, with foreign leaders describing the development as regrettable.

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"The United States should be leading the world on human rights, not retreating into isolation and separating young children from their families".

The official says the Trump administration believes staying in the council lends it credibility, and only will rejoin if it reforms.

"Worse than that, the Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement announcing the withdrawal.

The US could withdraw from arguably the most important human rights body in the world. In one, it was the first time no country stood by the U.S.

The Trump administration is under intense criticism from business groups, human rights organizations and lawmakers from both parties over the recently imposed policy. Nonetheless, he said the United Kingdom wasn't "blind to the value of this council". "Worse than that, the Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy with numerous world's worst human rights abuses going ignored and some of the world's most serious offenders sitting on the Council itself", Pompeo said.

Situations in Syria, North Korea, Myanmar and South Sudan are among the investigations launched by the council. Its resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral authority.

When it was created in 2006, then-President George W. Bush decided the USA would not participate.

Bush, the United States refused a seat on the council for several years BECAUSE WHY??? while offering financial support. After a year off, it was re-elected in 2016.

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