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


The U.S. on Tuesday announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), accusing the body of being "hypocritical and biased" against Israel.

Haley said the USA had given the human rights body "opportunity after opportunity" to make changes.

Haley announced the USA intention to quit the council at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The United Nations Human Rights Council was created back in 2006, its mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.

The U.S., Australia and some European countries have sided with Israel in condemning Agenda Item 7 as a disproportionate tool to single out the Jewish State for discrimination, while countries with worse rights records in recent years, like Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, have been spared such intense scrutiny.

Diplomats said that United States withdrawal can support countries like Cuba, Russia, Egypt and Pakistan, who oppose what they consider USA interference in sovereign issues.

"American leadership has fundamentally changed the work of the council, and for the better", said Peter Yeo, senior vice president of the foundation, which works to support the United Nations and to improve U.S. -U.N. relations.

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The member states meet three times a year to examine human rights violations worldwide. It is not clear at this moment, however, whether the U.S will withdraw from the council altogether.

"Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council", said Haley, listing USA grievances with the body. "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".

Since January 2017, it has announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, left the United Nations educational and cultural organization and pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.

But, as Haley stressed, Washington also believes it comes up short on criticising even flagrant abuses by USA opponents like Venezuela and Cuba.

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. Washington also relocated its embassy to Jerusalem after recognizing it as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

Both insisted the United States would remain a leading champion of human rights, but for many, the decision will reflect Trump's general hostility to the world body and to multilateral diplomacy in general.

The country initially refused to join the council in 2006, arguing that, like the old commission, the UNHRC had admitted nations with questionable human rights records. Under President Barack Obama's administration, the US officially joined the UNHRC in 2009.