WATCH: US Leaves UN Human Rights Council Over ‘Chronic Bias Against Israel’
The United States announced Tuesday it was leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, with Ambassador Nikki Haley calling it “a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.”
It was the latest withdrawal by the Trump administration from an international institution.
“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” Haley said.Haley, Trump’s envoy to the U.N., said the U.S. had given the human rights body “opportunity after opportunity” to make changes. She lambasted the council for “its chronic bias against Israel”, accusing it of a “disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel.”
“When a so-called Human Rights Council cannot bring itself to address the massive abuses in Venezuela and Iran, and it welcomes the Democratic Republic of Congo as a new member, the council ceases to be worthy of its name,” Haley said. “Such a council, in fact, damages the cause of human rights.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, appearing alongside Haley at the State Department, said there was no doubt that the council once had a “noble vision.”
But today we need to be honest,” Pompeo said. “The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights.”
The announcement came just a day after the U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, denounced the Trump administration for separating illegal immigrant children from their parents. But Haley cited longstanding U.S. complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel. She had been threatening the pull-out since last year unless the council made changes advocated by the U.S.
“Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded,” Haley said.
Still, she suggested the decision need not be permanent, adding that if the council did adopt reforms, “we would be happy to rejoin it.” She said the withdrawal notwithstanding, the U.S. would continue to defend human rights at the United Nations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office called the U.S. decision “courageous,” calling it “an unequivocal statement that enough is enough.”