Nikki Haley, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on June 19, 2018, announced the removal of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), accusing the council of bias against US ally Israel.
However, Nikki Haley asserted that the United States will continue to support human rights outside of the council and would consider rejoining it in the future if reforms are made.
The withdrawal was praised by Republican lawmakers including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and was approved by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Nikki Haley attacked the council for a “disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel”. The Human Rights Council had passed five resolutions against Israel, more than the number passed against North Korea, Iran and Syria linked.
(Nikki Haley: United States withdraws from UN Human rights council
Listing out all the US grievances with the UN body, Haley said: “human rights abuses continue to be elected to the council.” She also slammed the council for continuously politicising the wrongdoings of countries with positive human rights records to divert the public from the abusers in its ranks.
Nikki Haley said, “The Human Rights Council has been a defender of human rights abuses, and a cesspool of political bias.”
Nikki Haley was joined by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in defending the move to withdraw from the council, citing its failure to hold human rights abusers accountable and its disregard towards US’ call for reform.
Nikki Haley also pointed out that the through membership of the council, abusers guarantee their own impunity toward inhumane actions. She denounced the council’s failure in addressing the massive abuses in Venezuela and Iran.
Reactions against the US withdrawal
The move was immediately denounced by a dozen of charitable groups, who wrote that they were “deeply vanquished with the Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council, the premier intergovernmental human rights body.”
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said “Once again President Trump is showing his total disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms the US claims to uphold. While the Human Rights Council is by no means perfect and its membership is frequently under scrutiny, it remains an important force.”
Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a Democrat working 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.”
(Nikki Haley: United States withdraws from UN Human rights council)