U.S. Withdraws from United Nations Human Rights Council

20 June, 2018, 13:29 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attends the Human Rights Council at the United Nations

The U.N. Human Rights Council called for an end to the policy, prompting Haley to criticize the worldwide body.

The Trump administration is under intense criticism from business groups, human rights organisations and politicians from both parties over the recently imposed policy.

Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, made the announcement, slamming efforts of other member states for blocking US attempts to reform the council.

It also said the council's membership includes authoritarian governments with unambiguous and abhorrent human rights records, such as China, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Most recently, the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

In a statement given alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haley derided the Human Rights Council as biased and counterproductive to the cause of human rights. "What is clear, is that the secretary-general is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the United Nations and the active participation of all member states in that architecture". Israel's ambassador in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, castigated the council for "spreading lies against Israel".

"Trump's withdrawal is especially disturbing given his persistent praise for despots and dictators with abysmal human rights records, not to mention his administration's cruel mistreatment of immigrant families seeking asylum".

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein on Monday called on Washington to halt its policy, saying that "the thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable".

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"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".

Reaction to the anticipated move from human rights advocates was swift. Today, President Trump is sending a signal to the world that we're too weak to lead and too cowardly to fight for our foundational values.

The US was one of the UNHRC's 47-members.

Under President Barack Obama the U.S. was elected for a maximum two consecutive terms on the council by the UN General Assembly.

The UNHRC was established in 2006, after the disbanding of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Item 7 on "Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories" has been part of the council's regular business nearly as long as it has existed.

"The administration has abandoned America's leadership on the global stage on human rights", Miles said in a phone interview.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the USA move, branding the council "a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights".

"We have used America's voice and vote to defend human rights at the United Nations every day", she said, "and we will continue to do so".

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