‘Hypocritical, self-serving and political biased’ United States quits UN Human Rights Council

‘Hypocritical, self-serving and political biased’ United States quits UN Human Rights Council

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 USA ally.

She had been threatening the pull-out since previous year unless the council made changes advocated by the US.

But since Trump came into office, his administration has threatened to withdraw if it did not reform: "If the Human Rights Council is going to be an organization we entrust to protect and promote human rights, it must change".

The Trump administration withdrew the USA from the United Nations Human Rights Council, with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley calling the 47-member council "a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias". With some believing it could happen as early as this week.

But the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank close to the Trump administration, defended the move, calling the council "notably incurious about the human rights situations in some of the world's most oppressive countries".

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, appearing alongside Haley, said: "Too many commitments have gone unfulfilled".

Among the bones of contention between the United States and the UNHRC is the Agenda Item 7 mandate which requires a debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at each session.

National Security Adviser John Bolton opposed the body's creation when he was USA ambassador to the United Nations in 2006. The U.S., as at other United Nations organizations, is Israel's biggest defender. If the reports are accurate, it would mark the first time one of the member nations, of which there are now 47, volunteered to disassociate.

Washington, some European countries and Australia have sided with Israel in condemning Item 7 as prejudiced, noting that countries with arguably worse rights records in recent years, like Syria are spared such intense scrutiny.

The Foreign Secretary said the council's work on the Israel-Palestinian conflict could have value, under the right conditions.

The US only joined in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

United Nations human rights chief Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad said the news was "disappointing, if not really surprising".

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.

The United States has opted to stay out of the Human Rights Council before: The administration of President George W. Bush decided against seeking membership when the council was created in 2006.

"All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel", he said, adding that it would be up to the remaining members to ensure that the council addresses serious abuses.

"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 Human Rights Watch's executive director, Kenneth Roth. "USA leadership matters. We're still the only ones with credibility on human rights on the world stage".

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