Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

United Nations chief regrets as U.S. exits 'biased' Human Rights Council

United Nations chief regrets as U.S. exits 'biased' Human Rights Council

Haley has called for other reforms to the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying the group should make it easier to expel states with poor human rights records.

But since Trump came into office, his administration has threatened to withdraw if it did not reform: "If the Human Rights Council is going to be an organization we entrust to protect and promote human rights, it must change".

It is the worldwide organization's primary body dedicated to protecting human rights.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein on Monday called on Washington to halt its "unconscionable" policy.

The official charged that the "disproportionate focus and unending hostility towards Israel is clear proof that the UN Human Rights Council is motivated by political bias, not human rights".

A year ago too Haley had warned that the USA would pull out of the council if it does not act on the fact that 14 of its member countries including China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have poor human rights record themselves.

"The UN Human Rights Council has always been a problem".

"We should address criticism of the Human Rights Council's work from within, not from without", she said.

With the exception of Libya, who was kicked off the U.N. rights council, no country has ever left the body, and the United States would be the first to drop out.

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What is the UN Human Rights Council?

The United States will announce it is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, which it accuses of bias against Israel, UN officials said on Tuesday.

The U.S. also pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord.

The decision will leave the US without a vote and instead be sidelined from the body, which aims to promote human rights around the globe. "Human rights abusers continue to serve on and be elected to the council". "By walking away, the United States is turning its back not just on the UN, but on victims of human rights abuses around the world, including in Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Myanmar".

Mike Pompeo, appearing alongside Haley at the State Department, said there was no doubt that the council once had a 'noble vision'.

Other contentious moves have included slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum against key trading partners, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Last year, Nikki Haley told the council it was "hard to accept" that resolutions had been passed against Israel yet none had been considered for Venezuela, where dozens of protesters had been killed during political turmoil.

The Guardian says the U.S. is also unhappy about the existence of the permanent "agenda item 7", which is "exclusively devoted to the discussion of rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip".

The president of the U.N. Human Rights Council is acknowledging the "prerogative" of the United States to leave the 47-member body, while the U.N. human rights chief called it "disappointing, if not really surprising", that the USA was pulling out.

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