Haley says U.S. will leave United Nations human rights council

Adjust Comment Print

It was not immediately clear if the U.S. would remain a non-voting observer on the council. Israel's ambassador in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, castigated the council for "spreading lies against Israel". "The HRC [Human Rights Council] consistently ignores the worst human rights abuses in the world proving it is not an honest broker".

While previous USA administrations have criticized Item 7, President Donald Trump's government has raised the prospect of quitting the council unless it is scrapped.

Politico adds that the administration "first mulled quitting the council within weeks of Trump's inauguration but made a decision to hold off in the hopes that it could push through reforms".

Ms Haley a year ago accused the council of "chronic anti-Israel bias" and said the U.S. was reviewing its membership.

The move comes as little surprise from an administration that frequently has lambasted the 47-member body for a gamut of perceived failures - including what Haley has called the council's "relentless, pathological campaign" against Israel, a staunch US ally.

"There is no legitimate human rights reason for this agenda item to exist", Haley said a year ago. "The human rights council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy".

The move comes one day after United Nations high commissioner for Human Rights condemned President Trump's zero-tolerance policy on migrants at the U.S. southern border, which has seen distraught children removed from their parents and put in detention centres. "I call on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children".

In 2013, human rights group criticised the council allowing China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Vietnam to be elected to the body.

5 people die in South Texas pursuit crash involving undocumented immigrants
The Trump administration has said tougher immigration policies are needed to deter immigrants from entering America illegally. Another passenger, also reported to be a USA citizen, is under arrest in connection with the possible case of human smuggling.

Since 2006, the Human Rights Council has passed more than 70 resolutions critical of Israel, 10 times as often as it has criticized Iran.

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

The council last month voted to probe killings in Gaza and accused Israel of using excessive force. Diplomatic sources said it was not a matter of if, but when.

The United States could choose to stay on as a non-voting member, but that does not appear to be the direction the administration wishes to take. In that situation, the USA would be able to speak out on rights abuses, but not to vote.

When the council was first established in 2006, the administration George W. Bush withheld its membership over similar concerns. The United States joined in 2009, during the Obama administration.

Last week, Reuters citing a source speaking on a condition of anonymity, reported that a USA withdrawal appeared to be "imminent".

Jewish rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center applauded the USA withdrawal and urged other countries to do the same. This is a welcomed response to a body that condemned Israel more than all other countries combined. "In that situation, the USA would be able to speak out on rights abuses, but not to vote", the AP observed.

"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", said HRW's executive director Kenneth Roth.