US Leaves UN Human Rights Council

China Says It Regrets US Quitting UN Human Rights Council

China Says It Regrets US Quitting UN Human Rights Council

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday that the U.S. would no longer be a part of the global forum on human rights.

Haley has been the driving force behind withdrawing from the human rights body, unprecedented in the 12-year history of the council.

In a letter sent to non-governmental organisations, Haley complained that they had played a "deconstructive" role by refusing to support U.S. efforts to take Israel off the council's agenda.

The US and Israel have repeatedly pointed to the HRC's relentless stream of resolutions against Israel's policies, but Haley noted that it had consistently failed to condemn actual flagrant human rights abuses by countries from Venezuela and South Sudan to Cuba, Congo and Cambodia.

Rep. Eliot Engel, the House Foreign Affairs top Democrat released a statement on Tuesday that showcases widespread condemnation of the organization throughout the American Senate.

The Council, despite its checkered membership, also made a decision to expand the breadth of human rights issues on its agenda, encompassing such pressing matters as freedom of association and of the internet, protecting LGBTI persons from violence and discrimination, and condemning violence based on one's religious beliefs.

WHen the council was first established in 2006, the George W. Bush administration withheld its membership over similar concerns to Haley's.

"The US is in a pretty similar position to what it was [then] which is that a lot of other countries just didn't see it, and don't see it now, as any kind of credible guarantor of human rights", he said. "It followed long-decision making and the review of the Human Rights Council's performance", he stated. The main focus was barring the council from publishing a list of countries that do business in illegal Israeli settlements. "The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights".

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"You should know that your efforts to block negotiations and thwart reform were a contributing factor in the us decision to withdraw from the Council", Haley wrote in the letter to NGOs, which was obtained by POLITICO with the recipient's name blacked out.

China, Britain and the European Union lamented on Wednesday Washington's decision to withdraw from the United Nations.

"By attacking and blaming NGOs for its own failure, the Trump administration is taking a page out of the book of some of the worst governments around the world", said Charbonneau.

The argument is the same: It is not the United Nations framework that is responsible for anti-Israel resolutions but the member states, and countries such as Venezuela or Qatar, that will continue to guarantee that Israel gets no fair shake, with the USA or without.

The U.S. pullout was bound to have ripple effects for at least two countries at the council: China and Israel. "We don't need advice from the United Nations or worldwide bodies on how to govern ourselves", he said.

Washington's withdrawal is the latest US rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The U.S., as at other United Nations organizations, is Israel's biggest defender. "It reflects a widely-held view in the United States".

While Israel, which is not a member of the 47-nation council, can not follow suit even if it wanted to, sources maintained Wednesday that it was possible and even likely that Netanyahu would soon announce that Israel was ceasing all contacts with the council.

It only joined in 2009 under President Barack Obama, and won re-election to the council in 2012.

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