(Image source from: The Straits Times)
The United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley proclaimed the withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council today, condemning the hypocrisy of its members and its alleged unrelenting bias against Israel.
Nikki Haley, in order to announce the decision, came to Washington alongside the United States President Donald Trump's top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Haley and Pompeo insisted the United States would remain a leading champion of human rights, but for many, the decision will reflect Trump's general hostility to the world body and to multilateral diplomacy in general.
The proclamation came subsequent to the top UN human rights official criticized Washington for separating immigrant families who are seeking asylum after crossing into the country from Mexico.
Merely Haley and Pompeo stressed the decision had been made after years of endeavor to shame the council into reform and to remove member states that themselves commit abuses.
"These reforms were needed in order to make the council a serious advocate for human rights," Haley said.
"For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias. Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded," she added.
The Geneva-based body was constituted in 2006 to promote and defend human rights worldwide, but its pronouncements and reports have often clashed with U.S. priorities.
The council's focus, in particular, is on Israeli behavior towards Palestinians in the territory it occupies on the West Bank and in Gaza has infuriated Washington. As Haley stresses, Washington as well believes it comes up short on criticizing even flagrant abuses by U.S. opponents such as Venezuela and Cuba.
"Countries have colluded with each other to undermine the current method of selecting members," Pompeo said.
"And the council's continued and well-documented bias against Israel is unconscionable," he said.
"Since its creation, the council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than against the rest of the world combined." Haley, who issued a warning a year ago that Washington would make good on its threat to leave the council if reforms were not carried through, used even starker language.
"We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights," she said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he regretted Washington's decision, adding, "The UN's human rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide."
On Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, a Jordanian had rebuked Trump over the US practice of splitting up migrant families detained on the Mexican border.
"The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," he said.
By Sowmya Sangam