icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
20 Jun, 2018 14:30

From the EU to China, world blasts US withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

From the EU to China, world blasts US withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

Washington's withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council has been met with international condemnation, with even close NATO allies from Europe describing the decision as regrettable.

US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley announced the decision to quit the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Tuesday, dismissing the international body as a "protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias." While explaining the decision, Haley argued that the council possessed a "chronic bias" against Israel.

The announcement has been roundly condemned, with Israel being the notable exception. US allies, foes and human rights groups alike have all been lambasting the move as detrimental to the council's stated goal of promoting and protecting human rights around the globe.

The European Union commented that the withdrawal "risks undermining the role of the US as a champion and supporter of democracy on the world stage," while British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the move "regrettable."

Labour MP Richard Burgon went one step further, speculating that the decision was prompted by Trump's desire to have "even less scrutiny of his horrific policies."

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that, while she was concerned by the council's "anti-Israel bias," she nonetheless urged the Trump administration to remain on the UNHRC and attempt to reform it from within.

READ MORE: Mad Dog Mattis, the destroyer of Raqqa, frets about losing moral authority

Belgian's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders said that he was "disappointed" by the announcement but that Belgium would "remain committed" to the council in order to "continue fulfilling its essential role."

"It saddens me that the US has decided to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council. It comes at a time when the world needs more human rights and a stronger UN – not the opposite," Margot Wallstrom, Sweden's minister for foreign affairs wrote in response to the US decision.

Beijing joined the chorus of criticism, with Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressing the country's "regret" over the US decision to leave the council. China wasn't the only Asian nation to weigh in. Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Jakarta "deeply regrets" the United States' decision to withdraw from the UNHRC.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova characterized the decision as "boorish," adding that the US withdrawal "inflicted a powerful blow to its human rights reputation."

Tuesday's announcement was also widely condemned by human rights groups. Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, called the decision "disappointing, if not really surprising."

"Given the state of human rights in today's world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back," he added.

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said the withdrawal showed Trump's "complete disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms the US claims to uphold." Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth joined his counterpart at Amnesty in condemning the move, claiming that 'America First' meant that Trump had decided to ignore the "suffering of civilians" around the world.

However, the announcement was warmly received in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump and Haley for their "courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council."

David M. Friedman, the right-wing US envoy to Israel, also offered his congratulations. "America will continue to lead the world in advancing human rights without the baggage of this corrupt organization," he tweeted.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!