Trump Administration Pulls US out of UN Human Rights Council

Marsha Scott
June 21, 2018

Finland believes the American decision to leave the United Nations Council on Human Rights is a "setback", as Finland had hoped the USA would remain part of the body. In citing what it says is bias against Israel, the administration of President Donald Trump could further fuel Palestinian arguments that Washington cannot be a neutral mediator as it prepares to roll out a Middle East peace plan. Haley says that was "a contributing factor" in the US decision to leave the council.

"It's a setback that they've made this decision because the cooperation has been good", said Soini. She said the withdrawal notwithstanding, the USA would continue to defend human rights at the United Nations.

"For too long the human rights council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias", Haley said, adding that calls from the US for the council to reform have not been heeded.

It also comes as the US faces intense criticism for detaining children separated from their immigrant parents at the US-Mexico border.

The diplomat noted that Washington's decision had dealt a powerful blow to its reputation in terms of protecting human rights.

Rights groups have criticized the Trump administration for not making human rights a priority in its foreign policy.

Diplomats have said the United States withdrawal could bolster countries such as Cuba, Russia, Egypt and Pakistan, which resist what they see as United Nations interference in sovereign issues.

Israel is the only country recorded as a dedicated agenda item. In fact, that's why many of them run for a seat on the Human Rights Council in the first place: "to protect themselves from scrutiny", Haley said.

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But Israel and the United States have long held that the UNHRC has been held hostage to geopolitical interests.

"The Human Rights Council enables abuses by absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those that committed no offence", Pompeo said. The official wasn't authorized to comment publicly and insisted on anonymity.

The United States says the council's hypocritical, self righteous about Israel and the West in general, while ignoring the abuses of numerous 47 member countries' which sit on it.

The U.S.is the first country to exit voluntarily in the council's 12-year history.

Haley has consistently castigated the Human Rights Council for their "chronic bias against" Israel, an ally to the U.S.

Russia's foreign ministry had earlier accused the US of "gross cynicism" and "disregard" for the United Nations.

"Attempts to forcibly impose this rather specific understanding of human rights on other countries are, in themselves, a blatant violation of universal human values and civilized rules of conduct at the global stage", the Russian diplomat added.

Under President Barack Obama the United States was elected for a maximum of two consecutive terms on the council by the UN General Assembly.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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