U.S. Warns that it May Withdraw from UN Human Rights Council

Trump administration says that the U.S. might withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, because it displays anti-Israel bias and ignores violations by certain countries, NPR reports.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a speech Tuesday that the United States is “looking carefully at this council and its participation in it”.

“We see some areas for significant strengthening. It’s hard to accept that this council has never considered a resolution on Venezuela, and yet it adopted five biased resolutions in March against a single country, Israel,” Haley told the 47 member states gathered in Geneva.

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

Haley also stressed that the U.S. doesn’t “seek to leave the Human Rights Council, but seeks to re-establish the council’s legitimacy”.

The Ambassador also spoke against allowing “the worst human rights abusers” to participate on the council, calling out Venezuela, Cuba, China, Burundi and Saudi Arabia by name, and called for changes in the way members are elected, including the replacement of the secret ballot system.

Haley also addressed the agenda item to discuss human rights violations by Israel, referring it as a “central flaw” in the council, describing the country as having a “strong human rights record”.

Israel regularly draws criticism from human rights groups for its occupation of territory seized in 1967 and for continuing to build settlements that the UN says are counter to international law. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has characterized the council as an “anti-Israeli circus,” BBC reports.

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