Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump Administration to Announce US Withdrawal From UN Human Rights Council

Trump Administration to Announce US Withdrawal From UN Human Rights Council

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced this afternoon that the USA will withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, citing bias against Israel.

With the exception of Libya, who was kicked off the U.N. rights council, no country has ever left the body, and the United States would be the first to drop out.

National Security Adviser John Bolton opposed the body's creation when he was USA ambassador to the United Nations in 2006.

The United States' current term on the council ends next year. Under President Barack Obama's administration, the US officially joined the UNHRC in 2009.

Last year, Haley warned the Geneva-based council that the USA would withdraw if it did not end its systematic scrutiny of Israel and alleged Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians.

"Governments with egregious human rights records sit on the human rights council".

Condemning the planned withdrawal from the United Nations group, Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the decision "sends a clear message that the Trump administration does not intend to lead the world when it comes to human rights".

Haley cited Venezuela, China, Cuba and Democratic Republic of Congo, all members of the Human Rights group, for their "appalling disrespect for the most basic rights".

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment ahead of the announcement, saying: "We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting fully".

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the United States for the "courageous decision" to leave the body, which he called a "biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights".

"The move to make foreign aid conditional on political support follows a U.S. decision to cut tens of millions of dollars in assistance to Palestinian refugees, a cut made in retaliation for Palestine's sponsorship of United Nations resolutions denouncing U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital".

"We've been saying this for many years: that Israel is becoming isolated; Israel is being seen - even in the United States finally - as the criminal, racist apartheid state that it is", Abudayyeh told MEE.

The ambassador said that America will now pursue human rights work outside the council. "USA leadership matters. We're still the only ones with credibility on human rights on the world stage".

"We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organisation that makes a mockery of human rights", Nikki Haley said in an announcement alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Israel's ambassador in Geneva castigated the council for "spreading lies against Israel". "We gave them opportunity after opportunity, but they would not take a stand unless it was behind closed doors", she remarked.

"We have no doubt that there was once a noble vision for this council".

Diplomats have told reporters that a USA withdrawal from the 47-member council could come as early as Tuesday.

Some analysts praised the decision, including Brett Schaefer of the Heritage Foundation, who credited the USA with taking a "measured approach".

The Trump administration is set to announce Tuesday its departure from the United Nations' main human rights body in its latest withdrawal from an worldwide institution.

But some questioned whether a USA withdrawal will lead to reforms, or further undermine the council's mission.

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