UNITED STATES―The United States announced its withdrawal from the United Nation’s Council on Human Rights on Tuesday, June 19. The news was made public by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
“This step is not a retreat from Human Rights commitments. On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” said Haley while addressing the press on Tuesday.
When asked about the decision, Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Stéphane Dujarric, declared: “The Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres] is an ardent believer in the architecture of Human Rights in the United Nations and in the active participation of all Member States of this architecture.”
Human Rights Watch, an NGO that defends human rights, explained that the Human Rights Council “played an important part in countries like North Korea, Syria, Burma and Southern Soudan.” They expressed that President Donald Trump is only interested in defending Israel.
In 2017, Haley called for a reform of the Council, which was created in 2006 to replace the Commission of the same name, where reform is underway, but it aims to rationalize the work of the Council, and not address political issues.
One of the changes that the United States wants to apply is the process to exclude a Member State from the Human Rights Council. The vote requires two-thirds of the Member States to agree on the exclusion, but the United States wanted to change that vote to a majority vote. They also asked for a reinforcement of the selection process of Member States.
This is not the first time that the United States will be absent from the Council, as President George W. Bush shunned it since its creation, before rejoining it under President Barack Obama’s administration.