Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, made the announcement of US quitting the United Nation Human Rights Council on Tuesday in Washington, DC alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.She cited “chronic bias” against Israel and hit out at the “hypocritical and self-serving organisation”.
Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights calls US quitting the UNHRC disappointing
The move comes little over a month after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. And an year after the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement to combat climate change. this move is also the latest in an increasingly isolationist approach towards international institutions since US President Donald Trump took power.
What is UNHRC?
The UN body was established in 2006 with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights across the globe, as well as investigating alleged human rights violations.It is made up of 47 member states, which are selected by the UN General Assembly on a staggered basis each year for three-year-long terms.
Members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues and pass non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote. The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, which allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.It’s recent investigations into human rights abuses include a fact-finding mission to Myanmar to investigate abuses against the Rohingya Muslim minority and establishing a commission to look into abuse taking place in Syria.
What’s the Problem?
The problem that US has with UNHRC seems be double-fold; the first one seems to be the make-up of its membership and what it considers a disproportionate focus on allegations of human rights abuses committed by its ally, Israel.In 2006, when the council was established, then-US President George W Bush refused to join because the organisation included members who were accused by Washington of human rights violations.
In 2017, Haley again argued that many of the council’s members were in no position to be scrutinizing the human rights violations of other countries.
Well after this decision by U.S. several mixed up reactions seem to be pouring out from across the world.The EU said the decision by the US “risks undermining the role of the US as a champion and supporter of democracy on the world stage,” and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the move “regrettable”.On the other hand, Israel praised the decision as “courageous”.The reaction among human rights groups and activists has been universally negative.Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch said that the US was attempting to discredit the council because of its regular criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
The US is not alone in leveling criticism at the UN Human Rights Council over alleged abuses committed by its members.