Trump Administration Pulls US out of UN Human Rights Council

NEWS, HUMAN RIGHTS, ANGLO AMERICA, THE UNITED NATIONS, 20 Jun 2018

Associated Press – TRANSCEND Media Service

19 Jun 2018 – The United States announced today it was leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, with Ambassador Nikki Haley calling it “an organization that is not worthy of its name.” It was the latest withdrawal by the Trump administration from an international institution.

Haley, Trump’s envoy to the U.N., said the U.S. had given the human rights body “opportunity after opportunity” to make changes. She lambasted the council for “its chronic bias against Israel” and lamented the fact that its membership includes accused human rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“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,” Haley said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, appearing alongside Haley at the State Department, said there was no doubt that the council once had a “noble vision.”

But today we need to be honest,” Pompeo said. “The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights.”

The announcement came just a day after the U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, denounced the Trump administration for separating migrant children from their parents. But Haley cited longstanding U.S. complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel. She had been threatening the pull-out since last year unless the council made changes advocated by the U.S.

“Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded,” Haley said.

Still, she suggested the decision need not be permanent, adding that if the council did adopt reforms, “we would be happy to rejoin it.” She said the withdrawal notwithstanding, the U.S. would continue to defend human rights at the United Nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office called the U.S. decision “courageous,” calling it “an unequivocal statement that enough is enough.”

The move extends a broader Trump administration pattern of stepping back from international agreements and forums under the president’s “America First” policy. Although numerous officials have said repeatedly that “America First does not mean America Alone,” the administration has retreated from multiple multilateral accords and consensuses since it took office.

Since January 2017, it has announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, left the U.N. educational and cultural organization and pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal. Other contentious moves have included slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum against key trading partners, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Opposition to the decision from human rights advocates was swift. A group of 12 organizations including Save the Children, Freedom House and the United Nations Association-USA said there were “legitimate concerns” about the council’s shortcomings but that none of them warranted a U.S. exit.

“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,” the organizations said in a joint statement.

Added Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch: “All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel.”

On Twitter, al-Hussein, the U.N. human rights chief, said it was “Disappointing, if not really surprising, news. Given the state of #HumanRights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back.”

And the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank close to the Trump administration, defended the move, calling the council “notably incurious about the human rights situations in some of the world’s most oppressive countries.” Brett Schaefer, a senior fellow, pointed out that Trump could have withdrawn immediately after taking office but instead gave the council 18 months to make changes.

Haley has been the driving force behind withdrawing from the human rights body, unprecedented in the 12-year history of the council. No country has ever dropped out voluntarily. Libya was kicked out seven years ago.

The move could reinforce the perception that the Trump administration is seeking to advance Israel’s agenda on the world stage, just as it prepares to unveil its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan despite Palestinian outrage over the embassy relocation. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is visiting the Middle East this week as the White House works to lay the groundwork for unveiling the plan.

Israel is the only country in the world whose rights record comes up for discussion at every council session, under “Item 7” on the agenda. Item 7 on “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” has been part of the council’s regular business almost as long as it has existed.

The United States’ current term on the council ends next year. Although the U.S. could have remained a non-voting observer on the council, a U.S. official said it was a “complete withdrawal” and that the United States was resigning its seat “effective immediately.” The official wasn’t authorized to comment publicly and insisted on anonymity.

That means the council will be left without one of its traditional defenders of human rights. In recent months, the United States has participated in attempts to pinpoint rights violations in places like South Sudan, Congo and Cambodia.

The U.S. pullout was bound to have ripple effects for at least two countries at the council: China and Israel. The U.S., as at other U.N. organizations, is Israel’s biggest defender. At the rights council, the United States has recently been the most unabashed critic of rights abuses in China — whose growing economic and diplomatic clout has chastened some other would-be critics, rights advocates say.

There are 47 countries in the Human Rights Council, elected by the U.N.’s General Assembly with a specific number of seats allocated for each region of the globe. Members serve for three-year terms and can serve only two terms in a row.

The United States has opted to stay out of the Human Rights Council before: The George W. Bush administration opted against seeking membership when the council was created in 2006. The U.S. joined the body only in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

________________________________________

Associated Press writers Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed.

Go to Original – apnews.com

 

Share this article:


DISCLAIMER: In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


3 Responses to “Trump Administration Pulls US out of UN Human Rights Council”

  1. Satoshi Ashikaga says:

    The above news reminds me of “American exceptionalism” and the phrase the “Chosen People/Nation”.

    For your reference:

    – How Trump Wants to Make America Exceptional Again: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/how-trump-wants-to-make-america-exceptional-again/515406/

    – The Myth of American Exceptionalism: https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/27/the-myth-of-american-exceptionalism/

    – Why Did God Choose Israel?: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/12-tribes-of-israel/why-did-god-choose-israel/

  2. Satoshi Ashikaga says:

    More serious problem is the constant refusal of the United States to join the Rome Statute of the Iinternational Criminal Court (ICC), although the United States is showing certain positive signs to provide the ICC with some cooperation.

    – U.S. Announces Intent Not to Ratify International Criminal Court Treaty: https://www.asil.org/insights/volume/7/issue/7/us-announces-intent-not-ratify-international-criminal-court-treaty

    – The United States and the International Criminal Court: John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security: Remarks to the Federalist Society Washington, DC, November 14, 2002: https://2001-2009.state.gov/t/us/rm/15158.htm

    – International Criminal Court: U.S. Department of State: https://www.state.gov/j/gcj/icc/

  3. Poka Laenui says:

    The U.S. has complained about other countries and their attitude towards Israel (“Israel Bias”) and that some of its members are human rights abusers themselves.

    Sounds like nothing more than deflection away from U.S.’s own conduct, not only in its recent action of exacerbating the tensions between Israel and Palestine and being the primary cause of the major eruption of mass murder by Israel against Palestinian protest.

    It is also a deflection of the U.S.’s direct record of recent human rights abuse through their recent record of torture in Abu Graib and secret black sites, but in its prison in Guantanamo which continues to imprison individuals under cruel and unusual conditions. Today, the U.S. continues with its human rights abuse thru the violation of the spirit of the Convention against Torture as well as the Convention on Refugees and Asylum in its treatment of force-ably separating parents from children along the U.S.-Mexican border.

    U.S. human rights abuse is the story of the U.S. empire building. It’s sweep across its North American territory under its Religious Manifest Destiny doctrine is a story of pillage across the northern continent to the Pacific ocean dislodging and mass-murdering the native people (Indian Removal Act), marching them from East of the Mississippi River to Oklahoma along the “trial of tears” causing the death of over 4,000 of the 15,000 plus forced to engage in that “relocation”. This is just one of the many other atrocities against the Native Americans of North America.

    Under the Monroe Doctrine, it expanded its Manifest Destiny doctrine to impose itself throughout Central and South America, and subsequently increased its intervention through the Roosevelt Corollary which claimed a right to intervene into the affairs of nations below the Southern U.S. border.

    Not satisfied there, they also looked to the North and took the Alaska territory under the guise of a “purchase” from Russia (who never owned it in the first place)! When it finally gave the people of this territory its right of free choice to become a State of the U.S., the native people of Alaska were not permitted to vote, but U.S. citizens, many of whom came from the “lower 48 (states)” could vote. The U.S. military were paid to vote in this Alaska plebiscite! That plebiscite offered only one alternative – remaining a territory of the U.S. or becoming a State of the United States.

    The father and the mother of all human rights is the right to self-determination. When a people who are caught under conditions of colonization or what the U.N. had called “non-self governing territories”, they are entitled to not only the choice of integration into the colonizing nation, but are entitled to the option of independence as well as “free association.” This was never afforded the people of Alaska (1958) who should have been given this right of self-determination.

    The Hawaii case is a bit more egregious because it involved the military invasion of this independent nation (1893), and through the creation of a puppet government (Republic of Hawaii), it followed a stepped transaction resulting in the “cession” of Hawaii to the U.S. This “territory of Hawaii”, just like the territory of Alaska, were placed under the category of a non-self governing territory (1946). When they were given the plebiscite option of self-determination, the Hawaii people were only given the choice of integration, just as Alaska. There were no choice of independence or free association. Furthermore, only U.S. citizens could vote, which included the U.S. military. Hawaiian nationals who refused to accept the attribution of U.S. citizenship were prohibited from voting. (1959) Even today, those Hawaiian nationals still living in Hawaii can not vote, hold public office, obtain a driver’s license, board an aircraft to fly inter-island, obtain a passport, etc. Yet they are pursued to file and pay U.S. and State taxes and abide by all U.S. and State laws! Human Rights violations by the U.S. even within Hawaii is alive and rampant!

    The U.S. denied to the people of Alaska and Hawaii the human right of self-determination, which the U.S. were under a sacred trust obligation to bring to fruition under its obligation of Article 73(e) of the U.N. Charter.

    The above rendition of U.S. human rights violations only touches the very surface.

    The “holier than thou” attitude of the U.S. of declaring others of violating human rights, upon examination, only comes back to strike at the U.S. record, past and present even more intensely. The fact that the U.S. has declined to remain a member of the UN Human Rights Council should not act in any way as a barrier to being continually criticized for its violations of human rights.