After threatening the move for several months, the Trump administration announced Tuesday that the United States has officially pulled out of UN Human Rights Council.
“The Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy, with many of the world's worst human-rights abuses going ignored and some of the world's most serious offenders sitting on the council itself,” Pompeo said, according to NPR. “The only thing worse than a council that does almost nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human-rights abuses—and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change.”
The U.S's decision to withdraw from the Human Rights Council arrived just a day after UN’s top human rights official condemned the Trump administration for separating migrant children from their parents after they crossed the U.S.-Mexican border.
“The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,” Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said, as reported by the New York Times.
But as previously noted, the Trump administration has threatened to withdraw from the 47-member organization for over a year, as Haley consistently blasted the council for its “chronic bias against” U.S. ally Israel. During a 2017 speech to the council, Haley announced the U.S. would leave the organization if its members continued to adopt resolutions that singled out Israel, while ignoring human rights violations committed by other countries.
“The UN Human Rights Council has always been a problem. Instead of focusing on real human-rights issues, the council has used its time and resources to bully Israel and question Israel’s legitimacy as a sovereign state,” Rep. Eliot Engel, the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday. “But the way to deal with this challenge is to remain engaged and work with partners to push for change […] By withdrawing from the council, we lose our leverage and allow the council's bad actors to follow their worst impulses unchecked—including running roughshod over Israel.”
The U.S. is the first country to voluntarily leave the council since its inception in 2006. (Libya was suspended in 2011.)
“I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from human rights commitments,” Haley said. “On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”