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US quits ‘biased’ UN Human Rights Council
June 22,2018   By:CGTN
June 22, 2018 -- US envoy to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley announced that the US is pulling out of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), condemning the "hypocrisy" of its members and its alleged "unrelenting bias" against Israel.
 
"For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias. Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded," Haley said.
 
The main UN body now has 46 member states following US’ retreat.
 
Reactions to the withdrawal
 
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regretted the withdrawal of the US from the UNHRC, said his spokesman on Tuesday.
 
"The secretary-general would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council," said Stephane Dujarric, in a note to correspondents. "The UN's Human Rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide."

The president of the UNHRC, Vojislav Suc, on Tuesday stressed that it is essential that we uphold a vibrant and robust council in times when the value and strength of multilateralism and human rights are being challenged on a daily basis.
 
In a statement issued right after the announcement of the withdrawal of the US from the UN body, Suc said the council should be recognized as a central part of the UN for the 21st century.
 
He stressed that over the past 12 years, the UN Human Rights Council has tackled numerous human rights situations and issues, keeping them in sharp focus.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, thanked the Trump administration for withdrawing from the council.

The history between the US and the UNHRC
 
Since the UNHRC was founded in March 2006, it has had a permanent standing agenda item on suspected violations committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories, known as Item 7, which Washington wants removed. 
 
Washington said the council is stacked with opponents of Israel and had boycotted it for three years under President George W. Bush before rejoining under Barack Obama in 2009.
 
But the Obama administration was not all that satisfied with the forum either. In February 2011, at the UNHRC's opening session, the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly criticized the council's "structural bias" against Israel. 
 
The criticism against the UNHRC has further escalated since Donald Trump took the American presidency. 

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, publicly told the council a year ago that Washington might leave the body unless a “chronic anti-Israel bias” was removed.
 
She also demanded the body throw out countries the US considers as "abusive."
 
Seeing little has happened ever since, the US took actions of its own, circulating a proposed resolution a few weeks ago unilaterally laying out the full makeover it was looking for.
 
The US draft text called for dramatic changes to the rules governing how the General Assembly in New York elects countries to fill vacant council seats.
 
It called for making it more difficult to win a seat but easier to kick out countries accused of serious rights violations.
 
But the US received little support and has not yet formally tabled the resolution, sparking fevered speculation it was about to quit before the three-week session of the UNHRC started on Monday.
 
One more pullout
 
The UN Human Rights Council is the latest multilateral engagement the Trump administration has pulled out. Previously, the US already withdrew from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, the Iran nuclear deal, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, after Trump took office. 


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