The Trump administration officially withdrew the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council this week, citing anti-Israel rhetoric and disrespect as their main motivators. American Ambassador Nikki Haley accused the council of protecting “human rights abusers,” and creating “a cesspool of political bias.”
• Haley called the change an “affirmation of human rights” for the United States, and said that remaining “does not allow [the US] to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.” She also accused the Council of harboring “the world’s most inhumane regimes,” and “scapegoating positive human rights records.”
• The Council has repeatedly criticized U.S. Government officials over previous months on a multitude of issues, including immigration, the treatment of migrant children, and the economy. Just last Monday, U.N. High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called separating parents and children completely “unconscionable.”
• U.N. Poverty Envoy Philip Alston accused Trump of creating tax changes that “overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality,” in a report just last week. It suggested that Trump’s changes increase extreme poverty and are “deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest.”
• Trump’s decision to finally withdraw from the Council comes after repeated disrespects, but the decision did not happen in a vacuum. American political leaders have been floating the idea of walking away from the often-critical organization as far back as 2006.
• In fact, National Security Adviser John Bolton, who was in office at the time the Council was originally created, opposed its creation in the first place. He believed it would place countries with terrible human rights records in a hypocritical position of power.
• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, President Trump, and Nikki Haley for finally standing up to the Human Rights Council. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and a number of other Republican lawmakers, also praised the decision.
• But not everyone agrees; China, who has one of the worst human rights records in the world, indicated that they were saddened by the decision. “The council is an important platform for all parties to conduct cooperation and communication on human rights issues.”
• Back at home, former National Security Council Stephen Pomper condemned the decision, saying it would only worsen Council problems. “It could get better, but it stands a worse chance of doing so if the U.S. takes its ball and goes home and allows it to become a playground for strongmen.”