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Nikki Haley Pummels UN Human Rights Council - Katie Pavlich

20 June 2018

The United States has announced it is leaving the UN Human Rights Council.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley confirmed the nation's exit during a joint appearance at the State Department.

The United States has announced it is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council saying the organisation is "not worthy of its name". "The world's most inhumane regimes continue to escape scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing and scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in their ranks".

On the face of it the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations' Human Rights Council seemed to be churlish, a hissy fit because UN's human rights chief had just criticised the Trump Administration for taking distraught kids from their parents at the Mexican border. "You put yourself on the side of Russian Federation and China, and opposite the United States, on a key human rights issue", Haley wrote.

Tyrannical regimes like North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and others sit on the council.

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"This decision, in many respects, has been decades in the making", Bolton said. "The only thing worse than a council that does nearly nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human-rights abuses-and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change".

Diplomats from several countries made the comments in a brief break in the Human Rights Council's regular schedule on Wednesday to allow for comments about the Trump administration's decision Tuesday to pull out from the 47-member council. "A mere look around the world today demonstrates that the council has failed in its stated objectives". But Haley cited longstanding US complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel. A group of 12 organizations including Save the Children, Freedom House and the United Nations Association-USA said there were "legitimate concerns" about the council's shortcomings but that none of them warranted a US exit. Other contentious moves have included slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum against key trading partners, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. It added that the US criticism of the council for failing to make changes advocated by Washington appears "cynical".

Slovenian ambassador Vojislav Suc, who now holds the council's rotating presidency and has been pushing a faltering reform drive, described the Geneva-based chamber as the best place to trigger action on unsafe rights crises. "Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers and farmers who have done nothing wrong".

Russia's United Nations mission responded in a statement that the US had tried but failed to turn the Council into an "obedient instrument for advancing their interests and punishing the countries it dislikes".

"It's something that reflects a widely held view in the United States", he said. The U.S. joined the body only in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

Nikki Haley Pummels UN Human Rights Council - Katie Pavlich