Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

U.S. to withdraw from United Nations rights council over 'bias' against Israel

U.S. to withdraw from United Nations rights council over 'bias' against Israel

Senior sources familiar with the situation say it is now a matter of when, not if, until the US will announce its withdrawal from the council, threatened past year by USA ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley.

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

"The UN's human rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide".

"The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable", Prince Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said, as reported by the New York Times.

Its current membership roster includes individual human rights abusers and a significant number of authoritarian regimes and Islamic supremacist states such as China, Cuba, Pakistan, Qatar, and Venezuela.

What is the UN Human Rights Council? A group of 12 organisations including Save the Children, Freedom House and the United Nations Association-USA said that even though that there have been few concerns about the working of the UN Human Rights Council, it did not warrant US's complete withdrawal.

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Israel's Deputy Minister for Diplomacy and former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren also welcomed the decision by the U.S.

She called the council a "cesspool of political bias", but stressed: "I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments".

Based in Geneva, the Human Rights Council is a body of 47 member states within the United Nations tasked with upholding human rights.

Washington's pull-out would be the latest USA rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.

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

Israel, which has an ambassador the presides over the United Nations bodies in Geneva, has never been one of the 47 members of the council. "If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside of the Council", Haley said at a speech in Geneva past year.

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After a year of reassessing the council, Haley said the US has determined the 47-member body is in worse shape now than it was before, and because of that, the leaving.

Among reforms the United States had pushed for was to make it easier to kick out member states with egregious rights records. Washington also relocated its embassy to Jerusalem after recognizing it as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of USA policy.

Washington, some European countries and Australia have sided with Israel in attacking Item 7 as prejudiced, noting that countries with worse rights records - such as Syria - are not subjected to such intense scrutiny.

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

Ms Haley previous year accused the council of "chronic anti-Israel bias" and said the United States was reviewing its membership.

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