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

What is behind U.S. decision to abandon UN Human Rights Council?

What is behind U.S. decision to abandon UN Human Rights Council?

"The only thing worse than a council that does nearly nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human rights abuses, and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change", he said.

Why not send famed law professor and pro-Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz to be Washington's new ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Neuer suggested.

New Zealand, which stepped aside to allow the United States to win election to the Council in 2009 under President Barack Obama, may be a good choice as a replacement, two diplomats said.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Wednesday accused human rights groups of thwarting a US push for changes to the UN Human Rights Council and contributing to Washington's decision to quit the body.

The advocates' resounding message: Yes the Human Rights Council is flawed, but the United States can do a lot more to improve global respect for rights from within the tent than outside it. "The Council ceases to be worthy of its name", she said.

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Jerusalem welcomed the move, with Netanyahu once again hailing it as "courageous", calling the Council a "biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights".

"Attempts to forcibly impose this rather specific understanding of human rights on other countries are, in themselves, a blatant violation of universal human values and civilized rules of conduct at the worldwide stage", the Russian diplomat added.

"By attacking and blaming NGOs for its own failure, the Trump administration is taking a page out of the book of some of the worst governments around the world", said Human Rights Watch's United Nations director Louis Charbonneau.

The United Nations is stressing that human rights are "a pillar" of the organization's work and its secretary-general wants all member states to "engage actively" in the Human Rights Council and other parts of the U.N.'s "human rights architecture".

But the main USA objection was the council's Agenda Item 7, which mandates discussion of Israel at each of the three annual sessions.

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"China will continue, working with all sides, to make its contribution to the healthy development of human rights around the world via constructive dialogue and cooperation", he added.

Washington's withdrawal is the latest U.S. rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

She had been threatening the pull-out since past year unless the council made changes advocated by the U.S. It has mandated independent investigators to look at situations including Syria, North Korea, Myanmar and South Sudan. Its members are elected for three-year terms by the UN General Assembly, with a specific number of seats allocated for each region of the world.

They've failed to condemn the likes of Chechnya or even Zimbabwe, not current council members, so what's the point of this body which employs truckloads of functionaries in the ultra expensive capital of wealth, Geneva. Libya was kicked out seven years ago.

"We have lost a member who has been at the forefront of liberty for generations".

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When the council was created in 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush's administration shunned the body.

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