US Withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

Russia strongly rebuffed U.S. criticism of its air strikes in Syria on Tuesday reminding Washington how it had support

Human rights groups had also raised concerns about giving the DRC a seat at the council, citing the violence in Kasai, the murder of two United Nations experts who were investigating mass graves there, and the arrests of scores of opposition demonstrators.

Washington's withdrawal leaves the UNHRC in a predicament, because the United States has traditionally been the prime defender of human rights around the globe.

US President Donald Trump backed down on Wednesday on an immigration policy that sparked outrage at home and overseas, signing an executive.

"The only thing worse than a council that does nearly nothing to protect human rights is a council that covers for human rights abuses, and is therefore an obstacle to progress and an impediment to change", he said.

Russia's mission to the U.N.in NY posted on Twitter late on Tuesday: "U.S. attempts to blame the whole world for the politicization of HRC work are especially cynical".

Opposition to the decision from human rights advocates was swift.

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, applauded President Trump's decision to pull out of the United Nations Human Rights Council at a pride reception at the embassy in Washington, DC. Suggestions for reform of the council by rights groups were incremental, she said, and consensus based. "The council is not the only table out there, but it is a significant forum for advancing American values and interests in seeing human rights safeguarded and advanced around the world".

Many Israeli politicians rejoiced at Tuesday's announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from what centrist MK Yair Lapid dubbed the "Council for Terrorists' Rights."Professional diplomats in Jerusalem, however, pointed out the symbolic move could harm Israel in the long run".

Standing with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the US Ambassador to the UN Haley said the UN body was biased against Israel. "But that is precisely why we must leave".

The council's current membership includes 14 countries that are ranked as "not free" by Freedom House: Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, China, Cuba, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. The best answer is that the United States should address the glaring gaps in respect for human rights in two ways: by living up to its own principles at home, and by using its considerable leverage-with its democratic allies-to cajole other governments to abide by the universal norms they all have adopted since the end of World War II.

But on this one it's hard to disagree with the truculent Trump, the Human Rights Council's about as ineffective as the amorphous, cumbersome, ambulance at the bottom of the cliff (even if on many occasions it's out of fuel) United Nations itself.

"It removes an important member of the council who was supporting scrutiny around those abuses so it weakens the system".

Diplomats have said the US withdrawal could bolster Cuba, Russia, Egypt and Pakistan, which resist what they see as United Nations interference in sovereign issues.

But the ruling Communist Party brooks no political dissent and since President Xi Jinping took office dozens of rights lawyers and activists have been arrested or jailed in a crackdown activists say is worse than any in decades.

In practice, this has meant strong action investigating and condemning human rights abuses by some of the worst violators of human rights-Syria, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Sudan, Cambodia, Belarus, Burundi, and Eritrea, to name a few. Before following through on the U.S. withdrawal threat, Haley presented several demands for reforms, including the abolition of Agenda Item 7, which, since being adopted in 2007, has singled out Israel for perpetual censure. "The Trump administration's withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: Defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else", he said.

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