USA withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

21 June, 2018, 02:06 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • From the EU to China world blasts US withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

Eighteen rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International wrote to United Nations member-states in May to express concern that a proposed USA draft resolution at the General Assembly could weaken the rights council.

The president has, in the past, been critical of the council, and has accused it of showing a bias against Israel, an ally of the U.S.

"The UN 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.

The global community warned that the U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council over its biased treatment of the Jewish state and immoral actions had strengthened abusive regimes.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley confirmed the nation's exit during a joint appearance at the State Department. She added the US will work with non-governmental groups that share USA goals, "but not with ones who undermine them".

The council is a waste of time and money but does the former number three at the UN Helen Clark, who not surprisingly lost the vote to become the boss on a reform ticket, have a point? Most of those countries agreed that the council needs dramatic systemic changes, but did not have the courage to battle to make that happen, Haley said. It added that the US criticism of the council for failing to make changes advocated by Washington appears "cynical".

Russia's mission to the U.N.in NY posted on Twitter late on Tuesday: "U.S. attempts to blame the whole world for the politicization of HRC work are especially cynical".

"This decision is counterproductive to American national security and foreign policy interests and will make it more hard to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world", the organizations said Tuesday in a joint statement.

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New Zealand, which stepped aside to allow the United States to win election to the Council in 2009 under President Barack Obama, may be a good choice as a replacement, two diplomats said.

"For years, the UNHRC has proven to be a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights", Netanyahu tweeted. 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. The United States is traditionally one of its largest donors. The official wasn't authorized to comment publicly and insisted on anonymity.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the U.S. move, branding the council "a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights".

"Look at the council membership and you see an appalling disrespect for the most basic human rights".

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Russia's foreign ministry had earlier accused the USA of "gross cynicism" and "disregard" for the United Nations. It calls the 47-member body "hypocritical" and "self-serving".

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