Slamming anti-Israel bias, US announces withdrawal from UNHRC
Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (AFP)
Slamming the United Nations Human Rights Council for hypocrisy, and "unrelenting" bias against Israel, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, announced on Tuesday that the US has effectively withdrawn its membership from the international body.
The official charged that the "disproportionate focus and unending hostility towards Israel is clear proof that the UN Human Rights Council is motivated by political bias, not human rights."
"For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias. Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded."
The Geneva-based body was established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide, but its pronouncements and reports have often clashed with US priorities.
"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," said Haley who came to Washington to announce the decision alongside President Donald Trump's top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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 Russian delegation to the UN criticized the move saying, "This reflects Washington's unilateral approach to global affairs," and added that the US did not succeed in using the council as a tool to promote American interests.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his unwavering support of the decision: “Israel thanks President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Haley for their courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon also welcomed the announcement.
"The Human Rights Council has long been the foe of those who truly care about human rights around the world," Danon said in a statement. "The United States has proven, yet again, its commitment to truth and justice and their unwillingness to allow the blind hatred of Israel in international institutions to stand unchallenged."
"We thank President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador Nikki Haley for their leadership and call on the moral majority at the UN to hold all of its institutions accountable."
In a statement praising the decision, the influential Jewish American lobby AIPAC stated that "The UNHRC’s unrelenting, unbalanced and unfounded attacks on Israel have destroyed its credibility. The council has passed more country-specific resolutions against Israel than the rest of the world’s nations combined.
"The United States has repeatedly called for reform of the UNHRC; unfortunately, the council has rebuffed any serious reform—severely impeding its ability to effectively act as an objective guardian of human rights."
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman congratulated US on the
"courageous decision" to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, saying "America will continue to lead the world in advancing human rights without the baggage of this corrupt organization."
Congratulations to President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Haley on their courageous decision to withdraw the USA from the UN Human Rights Council. America will continue to lead the world in advancing human rights without the baggage of this corrupt organization. https://t.co/ZjjvilrdJK— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) June 20, 2018
- Defending Israel -
Independent watchdog Human Rights Watch criticized the move, warning Washington's absence at the council would put the onus on other governments to address the world's most serious rights problems.
"The Trump administration's withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else," executive director Kenneth Roth said.
"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."
US criticism stems from the fact that Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item at council meetings, one defended in particular by the Arab bloc of countries.
Known as "Item 7", this item means that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians comes under scrutiny at each of three annual sessions.
The United States refused to join the body when it was created in 2006, when George W. Bush was in the White House and his ambassador to the UN was John Bolton -- now Trump's UN-skeptic national security adviser.
After Barack Obama came to power, Washington joined the council in 2009.
But when Trump took office, he adopted a hostile approach to world governance, leading Washington to quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding and planning to leave the Paris climate agreement.
The announcement came after the top UN human rights official criticized Washington for separating migrant children from their parents who are seeking asylum after crossing into the country from Mexico.
AFP contributed to this report.
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Where is M BS? Leadership!!!!!!!!
IL knows one thing. She cannot trust Muslims.
If it wasn't for the US democracy would be history.