Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

U.S. officially withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

Russia strongly rebuffed U.S. criticism of its air strikes in Syria on Tuesday reminding Washington how it had support China Says It Regrets US Quitting UN Human Rights Council
Andrew Cummings | 21 June, 2018, 19:30

"The Trump-Pence administration's decision to pull the USA out of the U.N. Human Rights Council is another failure of leadership when it comes to the human rights of LGBTQ people and other vulnerable populations", said Ty Cobb, director of the Human Rights Campaign's global department.

In an interview Wednesday, Bolton said the US doesn't need a higher authority to judge its actions and must stick by the constitution.

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 president has, in the past, been critical of the council, and has accused it of showing a bias against Israel, an ally of the U.S.

Russian Federation blasted the United States decision, calling it "boorish" and saying Washington had "inflicted a powerful blow to its human rights reputation".

For the Trump administration, however, U.S. participation in a human rights organization that honors the likes of China, Congo, Cuba, and Venezuela with membership is in effect bestowing legitimacy on some of the world's most flagrant rights abusers.

But David Smith from the United States Studies Centre in Sydney says it's not the first time the U.S. has made such a move - it also withdrew from the council during the George W. Bush administration. We have a Constitution.

Pointing to the USA withdrawal under Trump from the Paris Climate Accords, the Iran nuclear deal, and heightened United States friction with allies as seen at the recent G7 summit, the official adds, "You could make the case for each action individually, but if you put it all together you have to wonder what it says about the direction of the U.S.".

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Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general, said: "The US should urgently reverse this decision, which places it squarely on the wrong side of history".

But human rights groups voiced fresh complaints about the body in 2013, after China, Russia, Saudia Arabia, Algeria and Vietnam were elected members.

Indeed, the announcement comes one day after Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, slammed the US for its zero-tolerance policy at the US-Mexico border that has been separating migrant children from their parents. "It absolutely weakens the U.S. position on this in terms of credibility and also effectiveness", he said. Libya was kicked off.

What you need to knowMinutes later, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, called the announcement by US President Donald Trump's administration "disappointing, if not really surprising".

Israel is the only country that is subject to a permanent standing agenda item, meaning its treatment of the Palestinians is regularly scrutinised by the UNHRC.

In May, the council voted to send a team of global investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli snipers in the Gaza Strip during weeks-long rallies protests the Great March of Return along the fence with Israel. And the move is also unprecedented, because the U.S.is the first country to leave the council without being forced out. Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row. "All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel". "It reflects a widely-held view in the United States".

When the council was created in 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush's administration shunned the body. The Obama administration rejoined the council in 2009, arguing that "engagement" with the member nations was a better way to address their actions.

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