Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

USA withdraws from UN Human Rights Commission

USA withdraws from UN Human Rights Commission

In her speech, the U.S. diplomat accused a number of nations of impeding the UN Human Rights Council reform.

But activists said the United States move could hurt efforts to monitor and address human rights abuses around the world.

"For us, the Human Rights Council is the central intergovernmental forum for dealing with human rights issues and an important component of the global order", Baerbel Kofler, federal government's commissioner for human rights policy, said in a written statement on Wednesday.

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

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, called on Washington to halt its "unconscionable" policy.

Haley blasted the council as a "cesspool of political bias" and accused the body of "politicizing and scapegoating countries with positive human rights records".

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Mr Pompeo called the council "a poor defender of human rights".

"The Human Rights Council is not flawless but it is far better to stay engaged and maintain USA influence, which has had a positive effect since joining the Council in 2009, than to cede the forum to those who have no interest in protecting fundamental freedoms", Cicilline said.

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.

"I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments", Haley said.

"The European Union will nevertheless continue to defend human rights and fundamental freedoms, whether in multilateral fora or around the world, also by cooperating with the U.S. whenever possible", she said in a statement.

Washington's pullout is the latest US rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.

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

Twelve human rights and aid groups, including Human Rights First, Save the Children and CARE, have warned the withdrawal would "make it more hard to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office is praising the "courageous" decision by the Trump administration to pull out of the United Nations -backed Human Rights Council.

In a statement given alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haley derided the Human Rights Council as biased and counterproductive to the cause of human rights.

Other contentious moves have included slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum against key trading partners, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

"The United States should be leading the world on human rights, not retreating into isolation and separating young children from their families". National Security Adviser John Bolton opposed the group's creation when he was USA ambassador to the United Nations in 2006, under former President George W. Bush.

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She had been threatening the pull-out since a year ago unless the council made changes advocated by the US.

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