'Cesspool of bias': USA withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

Hugh Fox
June 20, 2018

She said a year ago she made clear the USA would stay in the council only if "essential reforms were achieved".

Formed in 2006, the council has been criticised for allowing countries with questionable human rights records to be members. "The world's most inhumane regimes continue to escape its scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in its ranks".

During the council's latest session, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN's high commissioner for human rights, launched an attack on the Trump administration's policy of separating families trying to cross the southwest border illegally, calling the practice "unconscionable".

"Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded", Haley said.

USA withdraws from the UN Human Rights Council: "We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights".

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It's believed that, up until now, the USA had traded its continued presence in the council for an under the table agreement with the UNHRC that it would hold off on publication of its settlement black list which was due out at the end of past year.

"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. She also criticized countries which shared USA values and encouraged Washington to remain, but "were unwilling to seriously challenge the status quo".

Mr Johnson's address on Monday focused on the need for education of women and girls worldwide as a way to promote human rights.

"For our part, the United States will not sit quietly while this body, supposedly dedicated to human rights, continues to damage the cause of human rights", Haley said at the time. But UN officials said no member has withdrawn.

The council reserves one permanent agenda item, governing every one of its regular sessions, only for condemning Israel. It was not immediately clear if the US would remain a non-voting observer on the council.

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In May, the U.S.

Since Trump took office, the United States has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement. At the rights council, the United States has recently been the most unabashed critic of rights abuses in China - whose growing economic and diplomatic clout has chastened some other would-be critics, rights advocates say. It was only in 2009 that the US joined the organization under President Barack Obama, whose administration argued that USA membership could better steer it.

Then under President Barack Obama the United States was elected to the body for a maximum two consecutive terms on the council by the UN General Assembly.

The administration has argued that the body, which issues a report on Israel at every session, is inherently biased against the USA ally. After a year off, it was re-elected in 2016.

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