USA to pull out of UN Human Rights Council

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, who has repeatedly accused the 47-nation body of bias against Israel, is expected to announce the us withdrawal from the council with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Tuesday afternoon, according to NBC News.

Haley said a year ago that Washington was reviewing its membership and called for reform and elimination of a "chronic anti-Israel bias".

Under the Trump administration, the US has also announced its plans to withdraw at the end of this year from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, citing its "continuing anti-Israel bias", and has cut its contributions this year by 80 percent to UNRWA, the agency that assists Palestinian refugees.

Standing with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley slammed Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt for thwarting US efforts to reform the council.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered brief remarks before she spoke, praising Ms Haley and leaving it to her to announce the withdrawal.

Condemning withdrawal from the United Nations group, Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the decision "sends a clear message that the Trump administration does not intend to lead the world when it comes to human rights".

The US is set to pull out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, unnamed UN officials say. The official wasn't authorized to comment publicly and insisted on anonymity.

Haley threatened the pull-out past year, citing longstanding US complaints that the council is biased against Israel.

"The United States is looking very carefully at this council and our participation in it", she told council members.

Her remarks came the day after the council lambasted the USA for separating migrant families at its border with Mexico - timing that Haley refused to comment on.

Several U.S. critics, in condemning the decision Tuesday, echoed precisely this desire for reform as a principal reason to stay in the council, not leave it. After a year off, Washington was re-elected in 2016 for its current third term.

Last month, when the council voted to investigate the killing of over 100 Palestinians in protests along the Israel-Gaza border and accused Israel of excessive force, only the USA and Australia voted against.

"The U.N. Human Rights Council is headed up by some of the worst human rights violators in the world".

It was only after Barack Obama came to power that Washington joined the council in 2009.

Haley indicated that the United States was willing to consider rejoining the council if reformed were enacted to address her criticisms.

Instead, the U.S. State Dept.is making the historic move to protest what it calls is the Council's anti-Israel bias. It had an obsession with Israel to the exclusion of nearly all other issues, especially those involving the countries that formed the commission. "Instead of focusing on real human-rights issues, the council has used its time and resources to bully Israel and question Israel's legitimacy as a sovereign state", Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a statement Tuesday.

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