United Kingdom vows to vote against Palestine at UN Human Rights Council

Marsha Scott
June 20, 2018

These states include Venezuela, China and Saudi Arabia. And the commissioner noted that the US remains the sole United Nations member not to ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Child, a landmark agreement passed almost three decades ago.

The United States was half-way through a three-year term on the 47-member main UN rights body; the Trump administration had threatened to pull out a year ago, with Haley calling for changes including the elimination of a "chronic anti-Israel bias".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office called the US decision "courageous", calling it "an unequivocal statement that enough is enough".

It is the second U.N. organization that has been found to be faulty, and not to be worth continued involvement, after the USA announced just months ago it was leaving the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization over the same issue.

Rights groups accused the USA of withdrawing from its global obligations to protect human rights.

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.

Speaking before the USA announcement, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the U.N. and the active participation of all states".

Reuters reported last week that talks on reforming the council had failed to meet Washington's demands, suggesting the Trump administration would quit.

The United States is midway through a three-year term on the council, whose objective is to denounce and investigate human rights abuses.

US Jewish organizations and the Israeli government welcomed the US announcement that its tenure on the Council was now at an end.

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"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".

The United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, Nikki Haley, Washington's ambassador to the UN, has announced.

A group of 12 prominent nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights First, Freedom House and Save the Children, sent a letter to Pompeo, saying they are deeply disappointed with the decision. "But with US leadership, the attention Israel brought has dropped significantly".

It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It has initiated investigations into rights violations in Syria, Yemen, Burundi, Myanmar, and South Sudan, and addresses key topics such as migration, counterterrorism and protecting women, LGBT people, people with disabilities and others from violence and discrimination. Its resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral authority.

National Security Adviser John Bolton opposed the body's creation when he was US ambassador to the United Nations in 2006. The Obama administration sought a seat only in 2009 in an effort to showcase how human rights were an important aspect of USA foreign policy. After a year off, it was re-elected in 2016.

The United States attempted to reform the council for more than a year, Pompeo and Haley said.

The move extends a broader Trump administration pattern of stepping back from global agreements and forums under the president's "America First" policy.

The council voted last month to investigate killings in Gaza and accused Israel of excessive use of force.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch said: 'All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel'.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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