US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States will be withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Council is a body of 47 member states in charge of upholding human rights. Members get an important voice in debates over human rights. Dozens of charitable groups immediately condemned the move.
Why is the US leaving?
Haley accused the council of bias against Israel and an overall failure to hold abusers of human rights accountable. Critics have long had similar criticism of the Council. Haley claimed that many abusers gain membership to the Council only to ensure their own impunity.
“For too long the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias,” Haley said.
The move follows efforts by the Trump administration to implement reforms to the Council. Haley has stated the US wants more stringent membership criteria and the option to remove any members with a poor human rights records.
Haley referenced “massive abuses” of members Venezuela, Iran, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to try and discredit the Council. Haley said the United States will keep promoting human rights outside of the council and will reconsider rejoining if reforms are made.
“We have used America’s voice and vote to defend human rights at the UN every day, and we will continue to do so,” Haley said.
What’s the real reason?
Critics of Haley’s move were quick to point out the timing of the decision. The move came only one day after the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights sharply criticized Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border calling it “unconscionable.”
Trump has been blaming the Democrats for the “law.” However, the policy is not a law, and his administration started the practice. Heartbreaking photos and audio from the camps have sparked public outrage, and even Republicans are attacking Trump for the policy.
The administration has tried to justify the policy by using bible verses, but religious leaders quickly pointed to verses that contradicted Trump. Lawmakers on the hill may create new laws to stop Trump’s policy.