In Detail: United States withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

Nikki Haley, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on June 19, 2018, announced the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), accusing the council of bias against US ally Israel.

However, Haley asserted that the United States will continue to promote human rights outside of the council and would consider rejoining it in the future if reforms are made. The withdrawal was praised by Republican lawmakers including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and was commended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Haley attacked the council for a “disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel”. The Human Rights Council had passed five resolutions against Israel, more than the number passed against North Korea, Iran and Syria combined.

Haley was joined by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in defending the move to withdraw from the council, citing its failure to hold human rights abusers accountable and its ignorance towards US’ call for reform. Haley also pointed out that the through membership of the council, abusers guarantee their own impunity against inhumane actions. She denounced the council’s failure in addressing the massive abuses in Venezuela and Iran.

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