The Trump administration has announced that it is withdrawing from The United National Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling it a “cesspool of political bias” that unduly targets Israel while ignoring other atrocities around the world.
Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, made the announcement following a request last year for the Human Rights Councils to reform their views. She said: “Regrettably it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded.”
The move has been criticised by LGBT+ activists who fear that the withdrawal risks undermining the global work being done to protect LGBT+ rights. Outright Action International, an LGBT+ NGO criticised said: “The US withdrawal from the Human Rights Council is symptomatic of overall US isolationism and a move away from multilateral diplomacy. This administration’s ‘America First’ promise is rearing its head in every foreign and domestic policy decision, including this one.
While the US may see reasons to be critical of the Human Rights Council and advocate for its reform, the institution has been the central international mechanism of accountability and justice for marginalized groups and people the world over. For many LGBT+ people, the Human Rights Council, and the United Nations as a whole, are ports of last call when their own governments fail them.”
The move had been expected for a while. Last year, Ambassador Haley said The US would withdraw if the body failed to address what she said were serious deficiencies. Also, the Trump administration is stacked with ideologues, in particular National Security Advisor John Bolton, who have opposed the body since it was formed in 2006.
Haley continued, “Human rights abusers continue to serve on and be elected to, the council. The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape scrutiny and the council continues politicising and scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records.”
One of the big bones of contention for the Trump administration was the continued existence of “agenda item 7”, which is a permanent feature of the body’s schedule devoted to examining rights violations inside the Palestinian occupied territories.
United Nations spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said Secretary General Antonio Guterres regretted the decision and “would have much preferred for the United States to remain” a member.
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