U.S. Expected to Withdraw From UN’s Human Rights Council

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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday urged the council to reform its treatment of Israel and assailed its controversial Agenda Item 7, which is dedicated to discussing rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the Times of Israel.

Back in the day, the panel was called the UN Human Rights Commission and was routinely led by some of the worst human-rights abusers in the world.

The move would follow through on last year's threat by the U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to leave if certain reforms were not adopted, including the expulsion of countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela from the council.

In the announcement, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley criticised Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt for blocking efforts to reform the council.

Some analysts praised the decision, including Brett Schaefer of the Heritage Foundation, who credited the USA with taking a "measured approach".

The withdrawal followed strong United Nations criticism of US President Donald Trump's policy to separate migrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border.

Reuters reported last week that talks on reforming the council had failed to meet Washington's demands, suggesting the Trump administration would quit. She said the withdrawal notwithstanding, the US would continue to defend human rights at the United Nations.

But in this case, Trump is "retreating" from an outfit that the Bush administration also shunned. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who joined the White House earlier this year, has also consistently opposed the body.

Haley and Secretary of State Pompeo are to be congratulated for this move. "Worse than that, it has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy", Pompeo said, blasting the council for passing more resolutions against Israel than against the rest of the world combined.

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly past year, Trump said that it is embarrassing that some of the world's biggest human rights abusers sit on the Human Rights Council. After a year off, Washington was re-elected in 2016 for its current third term.

Haley has warned the council past year that the United States would withdraw from the council if changes were not made.

United Nations officials privately confirmed they were expecting the U.S. decision to quit the rights body. The commission had faced severe criticism because its members included countries with poor rights records that undercut its mission. Under President Barack Obama's administration, the USA officially joined the UNHRC in 2009.

"Reform necessary, but United Kingdom is here to stay - UN Human Rights crucial to holding states to account", he said in a brief message via Twitter.

This followed Israel's unprecedented boycott of one of the council's reviews, alleging unfair criticism from the body. Item 7 on "Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories" has been part of the council's regular business nearly as long as it has existed.

The U.N. Human Rights Council called for an end to the policy, prompting Haley to criticize the global body. No other country has such a mandate leveled against it. And the commissioner noted that the US remains the sole United Nations member not to ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Child, a landmark agreement passed almost three decades ago.

United Nations officials privately confirmed they were expecting the USA decision to quit the rights body.

The official says the Trump administration believes staying in the council lends it credibility, and only will rejoin if it reforms.

Human rights organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union believe the USA shutting the proverbial door on multi-lateral organisations and agreements both betrays America's values as a nation, and harms the country's interests.



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