[JURIST] Two sources with contacts in the Trump administration suggested Saturday that the US might be considering leaving the UN Human Rights Council [official website]. One source explained that several requests had come from the US State Department regarding the Council, suggesting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson [profile] might be reevaluating [Politico report] the US membership of the Council. The notion was further supported by Tillerson expressing skepticism about the work of the Council in a recent meeting, according to sources. The skepticism towards the Council is thought to be based upon it's inclusion of countries like China and Saudi Arabia who are accused of systematic human rights abuses, a perceived bias against Israel and questions about the Council general usefulness. Last week Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley [profile] criticized the Council for its treatment of Israel, calling the treatment unfair and its resolutions "outrageously biased". The Council was created to replace the UN Human Rights Commission in 2006. Former President George W. Bush refused to join the Council at its creation, but the US joined in 2009 under the Obama administration.
A US decision to leave the UN Human Rights Council would come at a time where human rights are threatened around the world. A report in January showed that the surge in populist leaders in Europe and the US threatens human rights [JURIST report] while inviting autocratic abuse in other nations. Also in January the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asked business leaders [JURIST report] to use their influence to prevent human rights violations in countries where they operate, citing concerns over the increase in divisive politics and hatred toward those who are already vulnerable to oppression. The possible decision to leave the Council also comes at the heel of UN human rights experts saying that the immigration signed by US President Donald Trump is possibly in breach [JURIST report] of international human rights obligations.