Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

U.S. to Withdraw From United Nations Human Rights Council

U.S. to Withdraw From United Nations Human Rights Council

The move comes as little surprise from an administration that frequently has lambasted the 47-member body for a gamut of perceived failures - including what Haley has called the council's "relentless, pathological campaign" against Israel, a staunch US ally.

"By withdrawing from the council, we lose our leverage and allow the council's bad actors to follow their worst impulses unchecked - including running roughshod over Israel". "If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside of the Council", Haley said at a speech in Geneva previous year.

Israel's Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter gestures during a special session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to discuss "the deteriorating human rights situation" in the Palestinian Territories, on May 18, 2018 in Geneva, after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are scheduled to talk about the Human Rights Council later Tuesday in remarks at the State Department. With some believing it could happen as early as this week.

The 47-member council has a number of powers, including the ability to establish panels that probe alleged human rights abuses.

"We will continue to lead on human rights outside the misnamed human rights council".

Israel is the only country in the world whose rights record comes up for discussion at every council session, under "Item 7" on the agenda.

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National Security Adviser John Bolton opposed the body's creation when he was US ambassador to the United Nations in 2006.

A key question will be where a US pullout would leave Israel if its biggest and most powerful defender abandons its voting rights or drops out of the council altogether.

In March 2011, the U.N. General Assembly unanimously suspended Libya's membership in the council because of violence against protesters by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch said: 'All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel'. Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton opposed the creation of the body when he served as the USA ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush.

The US joined the council in 2009 under President Obama. Nonetheless, he said the United Kingdom wasn't "blind to the value of this council". After a year off, it was re-elected in 2016.

A group of 12 organizations including Save the Children, Freedom House and the United Nations Association - USA said there were "legitimate concerns" about the council's shortcomings but that none of them warranted a US exit. This is a welcomed response to a body that condemned Israel more than all other countries combined. "USA leadership matters. We're still the only ones with credibility on human rights on the world stage".

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