The United States on Tuesday withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), accusing the body of protecting “human rights abusers” and accepting bias against Israel.
“For too long, the UNHRC has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias,” said Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the UN, during a joint appearance with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the US State department.
Haley explained “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.”
The UN human rights commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that the US withdrawal is “disappointing, if not really surprising news,” adding “given the state of Human Rights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back.”
Washington’s withdrawal was not surprising as US President Donald Trump’s administration repeatedly criticized the UNHRC, calling for reforming it. Last year, the US threatened to pull out of the council and described it as an “institutional bias against Israel.”
The expected gesture came nearly a month after the US defended Israel over killing more than 60 Palestine protesters and wounding more than 2000, in angry demonstrations over the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Haley accused, at that time, Hamas Islamist movement of “inciting the violence” at the Gaza borders.
Last month, the UNHRC voted to probe Israel latest violence against Palestinians in Gaza. Out of 47 members, 29 members of the council voted in favour of the decision, while the US and Australia opposed and 14 abstained.
The UNHRC, which is Based in Geneva, is tasked to promote the human rights around the world.