USA withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

USA withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the US had to withdraw from the council after no other countries "had the courage to join our fight to reform the body".

The Trump administration plans to announce Tuesday that it will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council after criticizing the body for hypocrisy and bias against Israel.

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.

She said the council was "not worthy of its name", but added the United States was not retreating from its human rights commitments. In a speech to the council past year, Haley called out the body for what she said was its "relentless, pathological campaign" against Israel.

Haley is decrying the membership of countries like China, Cuba and Venezuela that are themselves accused of rights violations.

The decision was reportedly based on the Council's bias against Israel and its extension of membership to notorious human rights abusers.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, appearing alongside Haley, said: "Too many commitments have gone unfulfilled". "We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting further", said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Diplomats have told reporters that a USA withdrawal from the 47-member council could come as early as Tuesday.

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"The United States is looking very carefully at this council and our participation in it", she told council members.

"The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable", al-Hussein said.

The council has the aim of highlight human rights abuses by adopting resolutions.

The Human Rights Council was created in 2006 after its precursor the Human Rights Commission was disbanded by then-Secretary General Kofi Annan because of a "credibility deficit". "From day one he has called out institutions or countries who say one thing and do another, and that's precisely the problem at the human rights council". Members are elected by the U.N. General Assembly for three-year terms and can not serve more than two terms in a row. After a year off, it was re-elected in 2016.

Israel is the only country that is subject to a permanent standing agenda item, meaning its treatment of the Palestinians is regularly scrutinised.

Jewish rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center applauded the US withdrawal and urged other countries to do the same.

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.

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