USA withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

Nellie Chapman
June 20, 2018

Current Ambassador Haley warned a year ago that the U.S. would pull out if the council didn't address what she saw as its bias toward Israel and the fact that many of its current members - they include China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt - have poor human rights records themselves.

Ms Haley announced the withdrawal at the State Department alongside USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

The reported move comes amid intense criticism over the Trump administration's policy of separating child migrants from their parents at the US-Mexico border. She highlighted the continuing presence on the UNHRC of authoritarian regimes with abysmal human rights records, along with the reluctance of other democracies to make their private misgivings about the council public.

"That does not mean", Johnson said, "that we in the United Kingdom are blind to the value of this council, including the work it could do on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the right agenda item".

USA officials said earlier Tuesday that the administration had concluded that its efforts to promote reform on the council had failed, and that withdrawal was the only step it could take to demonstrate its seriousness. In addition to concerns about agenda items singling out Israel, the United States also wanted more stringent criteria for membership and the ability to kick countries that have egregious human rights records off the council. But he added that the U.K.is not "blind to the value of this council", and advocated for reforming the United Nations body rather than leaving it.

A year ago, she denigrated it as a "forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion", and threatened a US exit if the council did not kick out abusive regimes and remove Item 7, the standing resolution critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row. The White House has also been entirely unwilling to criticize Israel's settlements on Palestinian land, which the United Nations has deemed illegal.

A year ago, she denigrated it as a "forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion", and threatened a USA exit if the council did not kick out abusive regimes and remove Item 7, the standing resolution critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year.

Russia sour Salah's return to close in on last 16
Russian Federation will be guaranteed a place in the last 16 and Egypt eliminated unless Saudi Arabia beat Uruguay on Wednesday. A positive result in this match is crucial for Egypt to keep its hopes of advancing to the 2018 World Cup knockout stage alive.


But Israel has never been a member state of the Human Rights Council, whose members are elected by the UN General Assembly.

The 47-member council, based in Geneva and created in 2006, began its latest session on Monday with a broadside against President Donald Trump's immigration policy by the UN's high commissioner for human rights.

"Regrettably", she added, "it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded".

The council last month voted to investigate killings in Gaza and accused Israel of excessive use of force.

This is the first time since the Human Rights Council was formed in 2006, replacing the disbanded Human Rights Commission, that a sitting member volunteered to step aside, though Libya was suspended in 2011 after a government crackdown on unarmed protesters.

"This is not a retreat from human rights commitments", Haley told journalists at the State Department in Washington, DC.

FILE - This is a Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2008 file photo, showing a general view of the Human Rights Room (Room XX) at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER