United States steps out from United Nations Human Rights Council

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June 20, 2018 (LBO) – The United States on Tuesday stepped out from the United Nations body that protects human rights around the world, saying the council, in fact, damages the cause of human rights.

Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, delivering remarks on the issue, blamed other countries for not having the courage to join their fight to introduce major, dramatic and systemic changes to Human Rights Council.

“Look at the council membership and you see an appalling disrespect for the most basic human rights,” Haley said.

“When we made it clear we would strongly pursue council reform, these countries came out of the woodwork to oppose it. Russia, China, Cuba, and Egypt all attempted to undermine our reform efforts this past year,”

“When a so-called Human Rights Council cannot bring itself to address the massive abuses in Venezuela and Iran, and it welcomes the Democratic Republic of Congo as a new member, the council ceases to be worthy of its name,”

“Such a council, in fact, damages the cause of human rights.”

She said the United States made it clear in last year that they would not accept the continued existence of agenda item seven, which singles out Israel in a way that no other country is singled out.

“Earlier this year, the Human Rights Council passed five resolutions against Israel – more than the number passed against North Korea, Iran, and Syria combined,” she said.

“This disproportionate focus and unending hostility towards Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights.”

Haley also charged the council saying human rights abusers continue to serve on and be elected to the council.

“The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing and scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in their ranks,”

“Therefore, as we said we would do a year ago if we did not see any progress, the United States is officially withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council,”

“I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from human rights commitments; on the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

Unpredictability of United States

The United States has a long history of being a strong advocate but stepping out from international organizations and conventions. Notably, the United States is not a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In 2002, the United States, in a position shared with Israel, having previously signed the Rome Statute formally withdrew its signature and indicated that it did not intend to ratify the agreement.

US is one of the countries to have ratified the fewest number of international human rights treaties—of the 18 agreements passed by the UN, America has only ratified five.

Analysts say unpredictability about international treaties is an old US tradition. Treaties either broken or not ratified by the United States include:

Treaties between the US and American Indian Nations (1722-1869)
Treaty of Versailles, 1919
International Labor Convention, 1949
Geneva Agreement, 1954
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), 1966
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discriminations Against Women (CEDAW), 1979
The Law of the Sea, 1982
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, 1996
Mine-Ban Treaty, or Ottawa Treaty, 1997
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998
Kyoto Protocol, 1997
Paris Climate Accord, 2015

Remarks on the UN Human Rights Council by Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and Nikki Haley, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations