The U.S. announced Tuesday July 19 it was pulling out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, issuing a blistering critique of the group, including accusations of protecting countries after they commit human rights abuses.
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, standing beside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, made the announcement Tuesday evening at the State Department. It came amid the fiery criticism wrapped around immigrant children being separated from their parents and the Human Rights Council’s calls for the Trump administration to halt the practice because it runs “counter to human rights standards.”
Haley’s nine-minute statement accused the council of sticking up for countries that abuse their citizens without repercussions and a bias against U.S. ally Israel, calling the Geneva-based body a “cesspool of political bias.”
She said the 47-nation group needs “major, dramatic, systemic changes, yet no other country has had the courage to join our fight” and leave the body. Haley called out the group for admitting Congo as a member when mass graves were discovered there. She also cited Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, Egypt, China and Russia among the countries who attempted to undermine reforms within the council.
“I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our 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.”
The decision will leave the U.S. without a vote and instead be sidelined from the body, which aims to promote human rights around the globe. The head of the council called the move disappointing.