[Vision2020] U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal From U.N.'s Human Rights Council
moscowcares at moscow.com
Tue Jun 19 15:03:44 PDT 2018
WHAT NEXT ? ! ? !
Courtesy of National Public Radio at:
U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal From U.N.'s Human Rights Council
After more than a year of complaints and warnings — some subtle and others a little less so — the Trump administration has announced that the United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced the decision in a joint statement to the media Tuesday.
The move comes as little surprise from an administration that frequently has lambasted the 47-member body for a gamut of perceived failures — including what Haley has called the council's "relentless, pathological campaign" against Israel, a staunch U.S. ally.
In a speech to the council last year, Haley delivered something amounting to an ultimatum: Either the Human Rights Council can "address its chronic anti-Israel bias" and clean up its roster of member countries — which includes Venezuela, China, Saudi Arabia and other countries with dubious human rights records of their own — or the council can bid the U.S. farewell.
"If the Human Rights Council is going to be an organization we entrust to protect and promote human rights, it must change," Haley said in remarks to the Graduate Institute of Geneva, the same day as her speech at the council. "If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside of the Council."
Trump's diplomatic team is not the first within the U.S. to voice such criticism.
When the council was first established in 2006, the administration George W. Bush withheld its membership over similar concerns. And when the Obama administration announced in 2009 that it would reverse course and seek membership, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Susan Rice, said the decision was made out of a belief "that working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights."
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.
"The UN Human Rights Council has always been a problem. 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. "But the way to deal with this challenge is to remain engaged and work with partners to push for change.
"By withdrawing from the council, we lose our leverage and allow the council's bad actors to follow their worst impulses unchecked — including running roughshod over Israel."
In a span of less than two months, U.S. officials have separated some 2,300 children from their parents after they crossed the border into the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security. And the administration's policy has attracted sharp rebuke from the U.N. high commissioner on human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein.
"The thought that any State would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," he said Monday, in comments opening the 38th session of the Human Rights Council.
Hussein pointed to criticism from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics — who referred to the border policy as "government-sanctioned child abuse" — and noted that the U.S. is the only country not to ratify the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
"I don't think [Tuesday's withdrawal] is linked to Prince Zeid's criticism of U.S. immigration policies," Gowan acknowledged, explaining that the high commissioner is technically separate from the council. But, Gowan added, "The timing looks just awful for Nikki Haley and Secretary Pompeo."
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
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