Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Donald Trump: US envoy confirms UN Human Rights Council withdrawal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem WATCH LIVE: US quits UNHRC, 'We did not take this decision lightly'
| 20 June, 2018, 01:53

WASHINGTON-The U.S.is expected to announce its withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday and deliver on a long-running threat to leave the organization unless it adopted major reforms.

While previous USA administrations have criticized Item 7, President Donald Trump's government has raised the prospect of quitting the council unless it is scrapped.

She went on to claim the: "disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights".

Formed in 2006, the council has been criticised for allowing countries with questionable human rights records to be members.

The reported withdrawal plan by the US also follows criticism over the Trump administration's immigration policy of separating families at the border who have crossed illegally.

"We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting further", said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric. The official wasn't authorized to comment publicly and insisted on anonymity.

The U.S. has always been believed to be preparing to leave the UNHRC over what administration officials say is unfair treatment of Israel, but the expected announcement will come a day after its chief called the Trump administration's family separation policy "unconscionable".

Bloomberg News notes the HRC began its latest session on Monday by discussing the USA media's new obsession, the "policy of separating children from parents crossing the southern border illegally", which High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called "unconscionable".

The 47-member council has a number of powers, including the ability to establish panels that probe alleged human rights abuses.


Although numerous officials have said repeatedly that 'America First does not mean America Alone, ' the administration has retreated from multiple multilateral accords and consensuses since it took office. No country has ever dropped out voluntarily.

The move could reinforce the perception that the Trump administration is seeking to advance Israel's agenda on the world stage, just as it prepares to unveil its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan despite Palestinian outrage over the embassy relocation. Critics say this sends a message that the administration turns a blind eye to human rights abuses in some parts of the world.

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed Haley's announcement, saying in a statement that the United States "has proven, yet again, its commitment to truth and justice and their unwillingness to allow the blind hatred of Israel in global institutions to stand unchallenged".

Reuters reported last week that activists and diplomats said talks with the United States on reforms had failed to meet Washington's demands, suggesting that the Trump administration would quit.

A USA pullout might also be largely symbolic: The United States' current term on the council ends next year, when it could revert to the observer status held by other countries that are not members.

These states include Venezuela, China and Saudi Arabia.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Human Rights Program, said Trump's "misguided policy of isolationism only harms American interests and betrays our values as a nation".

Under the presidency of George W. Bush, the United States declined to join the council, questioning how different it would be than the commission. Members are elected by the U.N. General Assembly for three-year terms and can not serve more than two terms in a row. "Should it become reformed we would be happy to rejoin".

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