'Cesspool of bias': U.S. withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to reporters at United Nations headquarters. Haley says the U.S. is withdrawing from UN Human Rights Council calling it ‘not worthy of its name

U.S. will leave UN Human Rights Council, ambassador Haley says

Haley criticized the HRC for its constant bias against Israel, which has been condemned by more resolutions than the entire rest of the world combined; for tolerating "not free" and "partly free" governments in the majority of its 47 seats, including some of the world's most repressive regimes; and for tackling only the "low-hanging fruit" of human rights violations instead of doing the hard work of confronting powerful abusers with HRC memberships.

Human Rights Watch criticised the move, warning that Washington's absence at the top United Nations body would put the onus on other governments to address the world's most serious rights problems.

"Given the state of human rights in today's world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back", Zeid said after Haley announced the USA withdrawal.

The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday accusing it of a "chronic bias against Israel", a move that activists warned would make advancing human rights globally even more hard.

Speaking before the USA announcement, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the U.N. and the active participation of all states".

But Haley, cited longstanding US complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel.

(No joke.) Tuesday, among the 47 United Nations states calling the shots on the U.N.'s top human rights body are such human rights paragons as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Qatar and Venezuela.

Either way, the US pullout was bound to have ripple effects for at least two countries at the council: China and Israel.

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But even beyond the disturbing fact that antisemitism thrives at the United Nations under the guise of human rights is that the "human rights" experts, the NGOs and the academic entourage surrounding this whole apparatus, have the council's back.

But Haley says that if the council does reform, the United States "would be happy to rejoin". "The UN's Human Rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide".

Although numerous officials have said repeatedly that "America First does not mean America Alone", the administration has retreated from multiple multilateral accords and consensuses since it took office.

On the opening day of the council's current session, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson criticised the body's perennial agenda item dedicated to Israel and the Palestinian territories, calling it "damaging to the cause of peace".

Among reforms the United States had pushed for was to make it easier to kick out member states with egregious rights records. It was not immediately clear if the USA would remain a non-voting observer on the council.

The administration has argued that the body, which issues a report on Israel at every session, is inherently biased against the US ally. The United States and Australia cast the only "no" votes. Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row.

Under Obama, the U.S. was elected to the body for a maximum two consecutive terms.

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