China 'disappointed' with U.S. move to quit United Nations rights body

China Says It Regrets US Quitting UN Human Rights Council

Bolton: US Withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council Was 'Decades in the Making'

Top American Jewish and pro-Israel groups have hailed Tuesday's announcement - made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley - that the USA was withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council.

On Tuesday, a few hours before US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington's withdrawal from the Council, Raz Shechter had still participated in a discussion about the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' annual report, in which she slammed the Council's alleged anti-Israel bias.

President Trump has recently faced widespread, vociferous condemnation for his "zero tolerance" immigration policy that is separating children from their families at the US-Mexico border.

What you need to knowMinutes later, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, called the announcement by US President Donald Trump's administration "disappointing, if not really surprising".

"When the USA is there, and in the instances where the USA actually agrees with other countries on the council, that can be a fairly powerful form of consensus, even if the resolution doesn't do much".

Meanwhile, J Street took a contrarian stance, claiming, "By withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Trump administration has taken another disturbing step toward abdicating the United States' longstanding role as a principled leader in the global system, advocating for the rights and freedoms of people across the globe". Now a two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly is needed to suspend a member state.

"We've been working with many member states to improve the human rights council" said Truscott. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States withdrawal, experts and diplomats have noted that without U.S. pushback, resolutions approving investigations of Israel's conduct in the Occupied Palestinian Territories could multiply.

The United States has long shielded its ally Israel at the United Nations.

US President Donald Trump backed down on Wednesday on an immigration policy that sparked outrage at home and overseas, signing an executive. Washington also relocated its embassy to Jerusalem after recognising it as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

Announcing the decision to leave the council, Ms Haley described it as a "hypocritical and self-serving organisation" that displayed "unending hostility towards Israel".

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, criticized the move. "Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded".

Gowan continued, "The Trump administration has always seen the council as a potential target". But Haley cited longstanding US complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel.

In their remarks, both Haley and Pompeo said the decision had been made after a long year of efforts to shame the council into reform.

Its decision "risks undermining the role of the U.S.as a strong advocate and supporter of democracy on the world stage", she added.

Haley had repeatedly threatened over the past year to quit the rights council unless there were reforms to its agenda and to the election of its members, which often run unopposed as a region's candidate, regardless of their rights record. Its resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral authority.

The council is a waste of time and money but does the former number three at the UN Helen Clark, who not surprisingly lost the vote to become the boss on a reform ticket, have a point?

New Zealand, which stepped aside to allow the United States to win election to the Council in 2009 under President Barack Obama, may be a good choice as a replacement, two diplomats said. After a year off, it was re-elected in 2016.

Citing the 1951 refugee convention, created in response to the millions of Europeans who fled violence during the second world war, Egeland said: "We need to remind ourselves when Europe was full to the brim of our own refugees, we told the world we need the right to asylum".

Haley said a year ago that Washington was reviewing its membership.

"President [George W.] Bush wisely withdrew the United States from the UNHRC during his tenure".

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