USA Withdraws From UN Human Rights Council, Says It Is Hypocritical And Self-Serving

The Logical Indian Crew

June 20th, 2018 / 1:51 PM

Image Credits: WikimediaNikki Haley /Facebook

The United States of America announced on June 19 that it would be withdrawing from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. The same announcement was made by Nikki Haley, the US envoy to United Nations (UN).


Calling it an organisation “not worthy of its name”, Haley said, “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.”

Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, who appeared alongside Haley said, “The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights.” He also said that the Council once had “a noble vision”.

It is to be noted Haley has suggested that this decision may not be a permanent and if “council did adopt reforms, we would be happy to rejoin it.”

Last year too Haley had warned that the US would pull out of the council if it does not act on the fact that 14 of its member countries including China, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have poor human rights record themselves.

Decision to withdraw faces criticism

This decision of the US government has faced a lot of criticism. A group of 12 organisations including Save the Children, Freedom House and the United Nations Association-USA said that even though that there have been few concerns about the working of the UN Human Rights Council, it did not warrant US’s complete withdrawal. In a joint statement, they said, “This decision is counterproductive to American national security and foreign policy interests and will make it more difficult to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world.”


United Human Rights chief, Mr Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has said, “Disappointing, if not really surprising, news. Given the state of #HumanRights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back.”

It is being speculated that this withdrawal is an attempt to promote Israel’s agenda in the world. Israel is also set to unveil its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan even as Palestine is protesting against the US Embassy being shifted from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Even as Israel Prime Minister calls this decision of US to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, a “courageous decision”, it is to be noted that Israel is the only country in the world whose rights record is debated and discussed in every single session of the council under “Item 7” on “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories”

After exiting from the Paris Climate Agreement and Iran Nuclear Deal, the withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council seems to be in keeping with President Trump’s “America First” Policy.

What does the withdrawal mean?

There are 47 countries in the UN Human Rights Council which are elected by UN’s General Assembly for a three years term. US’s term was to end next year. Even though it could have retained its position as a non-voting observing country on the council, complete withdrawal from the council would mean that the US will be giving up its seat with immediate effect.

When the council was formed in 2006, US President George W Bush opted to stay out of it. It was only in 2009 that the US joined the council under President Barack Obama.

USA’s decision would also mean that China’s influence on the council will grow. China has already started subtly modifying council’s approach to human rights. In the last session too, it introduced a motion Win-Win Cooperation for the Common Cause of Human Rights. This motion aim is to “seek to promote the international human rights cause through win-win cooperation”. However, various human rights groups say that this approach is to mainly distract from the allegation of human rights violations under the garb of promoting “mutual benefit to encourage multilateral human rights institutions”



Written by : Shraddha Goled

Edited by : Abhinav Joshi

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