US leaving Human Rights Council: a cesspool of political bias

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Publish Date : 06/20/2018 14:24
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US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday, accusing the body of bias against US ally Israel and a failure to hold human rights abusers accountable.

Following its exit from the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear deal and a day after the UN's most senior human rights official condemned the US for separating children from parents at the border with Mexico, the United States has withdrawn from the United Nations' top human rights body accusing it of "chronic bias" against Israel. A move that was criticised by human rights groups and described as regrettable by foreign leaders.

Rights groups have criticized the Trump administration for not making human rights a priority in its foreign policy. Critics say this sends a message that the administration turns a blind eye to human rights abuses in some parts of the world.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, called the announcement by US President Donald Trump's administration "disappointing, if not really surprising". "Given the state of human rights in today's world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back," he added.

"The Secretary-General would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council," Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said in response to the US announcement. "The UN's Human Rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide."

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called it "regrettable". "Britain’s support for the human rights council remains steadfast. It is the best tool the international community has to address impunity in an imperfect world and to advance many of our international goals. On the other hand, Israel, a major ally of the US, praised Washington's "courageous" move.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary-general, said: "Once again President Trump is showing his complete disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms the US claims to uphold. While the Human Rights Council is by no means perfect and its membership is frequently under scrutiny, it remains an important force for accountability and justice."

“The U.N. Human Rights Council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel,” said Human Rights Watch executive director Ken Roth.

US Senator Chris Coons, a member of the opposition Democratic party, said the move was a "serious mistake" he continued "The UN Human Rights Council isn't perfect, but withdrawing the United States from this important body sends a clear message that the Trump Administration does not intend to lead the world when it comes to human rights."

It is worthy of attention that Israel has been the subject of more resolutions by the Human Rights Council than any other nation by far. It is also the only country to have its rights record reviewed during every council meeting, which occurs three times a year.
The United States is the first country ever to quit the council. It joined the council in 2009 under the Obama administration and served two terms until 2015. It rejoined in 2016 and was set to stay on the council until 2019 before Tuesday's announcement.




“ US leaving Human Rights Council: a cesspool of political bias ”