US quits UN Human Rights council: What message does it send to the world?
By James Griffiths, CNN
Updated 3:48 AM ET, Wed June 20, 2018
(CNN)The United States has quit the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), saying the body is a “cesspool of political bias.”
US ambassador Nikki Haley announced the move Tuesday, which followed criticism by the UNHRC of Israel’s shooting of unarmed protesters and the separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.
While US officials have tried to frame the move as pro-human rights, Washington’s withdrawal is likely to renew criticism that the Trump administration places less value on human rights than its predecessors, as exemplified by Trump’s dealings with alleged human rights abusers like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, and the recent outcry over the treatment of immigrants along its southern border.
The UNHRC is only the latest international body or agreement that the Trump administration has withdrawn from, including the Paris climate accords, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Why is the US leaving?
Both Haley and Trump have previously sparred with the wider UN over criticism of the US and Israel, with Haley claiming the international community pays outsized attention to Washington’s actions while ignoring the “reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council.”
That comment was in response to UN criticism of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which Haley said was the “sovereign” right of the US to pursue.
In a statement, US Vice President Mike Pence said that in exiting the UN body Washington “took a stand against some of the world’s worst human rights violators,” claiming the council had made “a mockery” of its original mission in its criticism of the US and Israel.
However, both the Trump White House and previous US administrations have been open to dealing economically and otherwise with human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt.