Donald Trump’s administration pulled the United States out of the United Nations Human Rights Council Tuesday, attacking the body as ‘not worthy of its name’.
Nikki Haley, Trump’s U.N. ambassador, launched the broadside at the State Department where she accused it of ‘chronic bias against Israel’.
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.
Speaking beside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haley said she that a year ago she made clear the U.S. would stay in the council only if ‘essential reforms were achieved.’
But those calls for change were not heeded, she said. Haley also decried the membership of countries like China, Cuba and Venezuela that are themselves accused of rights violations.
‘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.
Haley said that if the council – which was set up in 2006 – does reform, the United States ‘would be happy to rejoin.’
‘These reforms were needed in order to make the council a serious advocate for human rights,’ Haley said.
‘For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias. Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded.’
Out: Nikki Haley pulled the U.S. out of the U.N. Human Rights Council saying it had ‘chronic’ bias against Israel and had members who themselves violated human rights
Conflict: Nikki Haley accused the organization of ‘chronic bias’ against Israel, whose human rights record in the West bank and Gaza (pictured) is the only issue on the agenda at every meeting
Condemnation: The Trump administration’s move to leave the body came a day after it condemned the separation of children from their parents when they cross the border illegally
Pompeo said there was no doubt that the council once had a ‘noble vision.’
‘But today we need to be honest,’ he said. ‘The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights.’
‘Countries have colluded with each other to undermine the current method of selecting members,’ Pompeo said.
‘And the council’s continued and well-documented bias against Israel is unconscionable,’ he said.
‘Since its creation, the council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than against the rest of the world combined.’
The move extends a broader Trump administration pattern of stepping back from international agreements and forums under the president’s ‘America First’ policy.
Since taking office, the administration has announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, the U.N. educational and cultural organization and 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 to the holy city from Tel Aviv.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli’s prime minister, hailed the move on twitte