WASHINGTON: The United States withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday after no other countries “had the courage to join our fight” to reform the “hypocritical and self-serving” body, said US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
“Disappointing, if not really surprising, news. Given the state of #HumanRights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back” — UN Human Rights Chief #Zeid following USA decision to withdraw from U.N. Human Rights Council.#StandUp4HumanRights
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) June 19, 2018
“In doing so, I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments,” Haley said.
Standing with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley slammed Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt for thwarting US efforts to reform the council. She also criticized countries which shared US values and encouraged Washington to remain, but “were unwilling to seriously challenge the status quo.”
Washington’s withdrawal is the latest US rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
It also comes as the United States faces intense criticism for detaining children separated from their immigrant parents at the US-Mexico border. UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein on Monday called on Washington to halt its “unconscionable” policy.
“Look at the council membership, and you see an appalling disrespect for the most basic rights,” said Haley, citing Venezuela, China, Cuba and Democratic Republic of Congo. She did not mention Saudi Arabia, which rights groups pushed to be suspended in 2016 over killings of civilians in the Yemen war.