Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

U.S. Becomes First Country to Exit Human Rights Council

U.S. Becomes First Country to Exit Human Rights Council

"Of course Finland is committed to the work of the Human Rights Council and based on our experiences we would have hoped that the United States would have continued that co-operation".

The country withdrew from the UNHRC on Tuesday after accusing it of bias.

"But the primary reason why the U.S. is pulling out of the council now is because of its efforts to reduce or eliminate of the unfair criticism, in the US' view, of Israel's treatment of Palestinians", she added. The group has been at the forefront of fighting for LGBTQ rights worldwide.

Haley also said the "disproportionate focus and unending hostility towards Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights". The US had been threatened to withdraw from the council for years, long before this failed reform effort, and the bid to "reform" the council by preventing them from criticizing Israel was clearly never going to go anywhere.

Among the consequences of a president as morally deficient as this, none is as serious as giving human rights abuses a shield (Trump said others do the same!) and a sword (the USA government abuses children!).

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Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump's United Nations ambassador, made the announcement Tuesday, calling the body a "cesspool of political bias".

Haley has been the driving force behind withdrawing from the human rights body, unprecedented in the 12-year history of the council.

The Council, despite its checkered membership, also chose to expand the breadth of human rights issues on its agenda, encompassing such pressing matters as freedom of association and of the internet, protecting LGBTI persons from violence and discrimination, and condemning violence based on one's religious beliefs.

Israel is the only country in the world whose rights record comes up for discussion at every council session, under "Item 7" on the agenda. "In a chilling echo of historic boycotts of Jews, the UNHRC has also singled out for a "blacklist" Israeli and other companies doing business - often to the benefit of ordinary Palestinians - in Jewish communities in Palestinian-claimed areas that sit at the very heart of Jews' ancestral homeland".

The US has long had a conflicted relationship with the UNHRC and says it has to be reformed. "We don't need advice from the United Nations or global bodies on how to govern ourselves", he said. LGBTQ rights are human rights. Instead, it has become a club for the worst of the worst human rights violators.

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Why not send famed law professor and pro-Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz to be Washington's new ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Neuer suggested. "Israel, of course, is the only democracy in the Middle East and the only Middle Eastern country to guarantee freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and many other freedoms that are not protected in much of the world". The United States and Australia cast the only "no" votes.

Washington's withdrawal is the latest USA rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

"The Trump administration's withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else", says Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch in NY.

For that matter, what's the point of the United Nations, with the seven permanent members on the Security Council, with views as varied as Russia, China and the United States, having a veto right over everyone else.

Pointing to the USA withdrawal under Trump from the Paris Climate Accords, the Iran nuclear deal, and heightened United States friction with allies as seen at the recent G7 summit, the official adds, "You could make the case for each action individually, but if you put it all together you have to wonder what it says about the direction of the U.S.". "On the contrary, it will exacerbate it".

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Rights group have criticized the decision as sending a message that the USA was turning a blind eye to abuses across the world. "Those who are embracing this decision as a rebuke to critics of Israel are favoring self-destructive spite over serious diplomacy and strategy".

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