US ‘to quit UN human rights council’

The US is set to pull out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, unnamed UN officials say.

US ambassador Nikki Haley warned last year the US was thinking of pulling out

 

The US UN envoy Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are set make the announcement later on Tuesday.

Ms Haley last year accused the council of “chronic anti-Israel bias” and said the US was reviewing its membership.

Formed in 2006, the council has been criticised for allowing countries with questionable human rights records to be members.

UN officials have not commented on the expected US announcement. “We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting further,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

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.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad called the policy “unconscionable”.

Meanwhile the campaign group Human Rights Watch criticised President Trump’s human rights policy as “one-dimensional”.

“The UN Human Rights Council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel,” said HRW executive director Kenneth Roth.

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What is the UN Human Rights Council?

  • Created in 2006 to replace the UN’s Human Rights Commission, which was widely discredited for electing member states with questionable track records on human rights
  • All of the 47 members are elected for three-year terms
  • The council aims to shine a spotlight on rights abuses by adopting resolutions but has faced similar criticism to the commission
  • In 2013, human rights groups complained when China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Vietnam were elected to the body
  • The US only joined in 2009 under President Barack Obama. It is midway through its current term
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In her first address to the council a year ago, Ms Haley said it was “hard to accept” that resolutions had been passed against Israel yet none had been considered for Venezuela, which at the time saw dozens of protesters killed during political turmoil.

“It is essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility,” she said.

Israel is the only country that is subject to a permanent standing agenda item, meaning its treatment of the Palestinians is regularly scrutinised.

Leaving the council would would be the latest rejection by the US of multilateral efforts, including the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.

Source :

BBC News

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