U.S. to Withdraw From United Nations Human Rights Council

Nellie Chapman
June 20, 2018

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will make the announcement at a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington at 5:00 p.m.

The anticipated move follows months of talks between the U.S. and United Nations member states in NY and Geneva, where the Human Rights Council is based, on reforming the agenda of the council. Item 7 on "Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories" has been part of the council's regular business nearly as long as it has existed. They asked not to be identified discussing a decision that hadn't yet been made public. "If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside of the Council".

"The Secretary-General is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the United Nations and the active participation of all states". The US joined the body only in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

The United States has long accused the council of being biased against Israel. In the first year, the council's first 11 resolutions targeting a specific nation were aimed at Israel.

The withdrawal, which comes as the 47-member body begins a three-week session in Geneva, had been expected as a result of the Trump administration's frequent criticism of the group's treatment of Israel. It was not immediately clear if the US would remain a non-voting observer on the council.

In May, the U.S.

The Trump administration's irritation with the council makeup and its agenda has been telegraphed with drumbeat regularity by Haley.

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Haley said that "chronic bias against Israel" is one of the reasons the U.S. will quit the UNHRC and that it is a "Hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of Human Rights".

Two weeks ago, Haley reiterated her ultimatum. "In the end, no speech and no structural reforms will save the members of the Human Rights Council from themselves".

"The United States is looking very carefully at this council and our participation in it", she told council members.

"Amb. Nikki Haley will soon announce America's withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council". Israel's ambassador in Geneva castigated the council for "spreading lies against Israel".

The decision, should it come to pass, would occur after months of talks between the USA and other member countries, with the US critical of agenda items singling out Israel for condemnation over its treatment of Palestinians.

These states include Venezuela, China and Saudi Arabia.

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