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U.S. Expected to Withdraw From UN’s Human Rights Council

21 June 2018
U.S. Expected to Withdraw From UN’s Human Rights Council

"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", he said.

Previous U.S. administrations have distanced themselves from Agenda Item 7, however, President Donald Trump has raised the prospect of withdrawing from the council altogether unless it is scrapped.

"The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights", Pompeo said.

She criticised Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt for thwarting U.S. reform attempts, saying the countries were "unwilling to seriously challenge the status quo".

"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". Critics say this sends a message that the administration turns a blind eye to human rights abuses in some parts of the world.

"That's why we will continue to support and champion it, " Johnson said. "In short, the Commission had lost the world's trust".

"Even as we end our membership in the Human Rights Council, we will keep trying to strengthen the entire framework of the United Nations engagement in human rights issues".

The administration first mulled quitting the council within weeks of Trump's inauguration but chose to hold off in the hopes that it could push through reforms.

The administration has argued that the body, which issues a report on Israel at every session, is inherently biased against the US ally.

The move comes one day after United Nations high commissioner for Human Rights condemned President Trump's zero-tolerance policy on migrants at the USA southern border, which has seen distraught children removed from their parents and put in detention centres.

Haley has had a contentious relationship with many at the United Nations, not only within the Human Rights Council (which is investigating USA ally Saudi Arabia for its killing civilians in the war in Yemen), but with the General Assembly as well, which Haley has accused of having an anti-Israel bias.

If the United States leaves the council today it will not be present for the July 2 discussion the council plans to conduct in regards to Israel and Palestine.

Twelve human rights and aid groups, including Human Rights First, Save the Children and CARE, have warned the withdrawal would "make it more hard to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world".

"Governments with egregious human rights records sit on the human rights council". US's term was to end next year.

The move comes after the council voted last month to probe killings of Palestinian protesters in Gaza and accused Israel of excessive use of force.

When the council was formed in 2006, US President George W Bush opted to stay out of it.