US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Halley [official website] announced on Tuesday that the US will be withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council [official website].
Haley accused the Human Rights Council of protecting human rights abusers and being a “cesspool of political bias,” a “hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” and “not worthy of its name.”
Haley stated that in the past year, the US had made a good faith effort to reform the council. These efforts included meeting with other ambassadors and member states, and leading a session on Human Rights Council reform.
The recent membership of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Council, refusal of the Council to have a meeting related to the human rights conditions of Venezuela, and failure to address the killing and arresting of hundreds in Iran were cited as some examples of why the US has decided to leave the Council. The “continued bias against Israel” was also cited as being a reason for leaving, stating that the Council passed five resolutions against Israel this year.
Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt were accused of attempting to undermine efforts to reform the Council. It was also stated that several countries supported the reforms, but would not “challenge the status quo” except behind closed doors.
Haley clarified that the US will continue to support human rights outside of the Human Rights Council and if the Council undergoes reform, the US would be willing to rejoin.