The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, saying the organization was not worthy of its name.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the withdrawal early on Tuesday evening.
“The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights,” Pompeo said. “Worse than that, the Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy, with many of the world’s worst human rights abuses going ignored and some of the world’s most serious offenders sitting on the council itself.”
Pompeo named China, Cuba, and Venezuela as some of the worst human rights abusers who sit on the council. Haley said the council ignores abuses in Venezuela and Iran while admitting known human rights abusers like the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Both Haley and Pompeo pointed to the organization’s bias against Israel. Since its inception, the council passed more resolutions against Israel than the rest of the world combined, Pompeo said.
The United States attempted to reform the council for more than a year, Pompeo and Haley said. But the efforts were met from resistance from countries who use it as a tool to insulate themselves from criticism.
“For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias,” Haley said.
Meanwhile, America’s allies on the council refused to help publicly, despite being given many opportunities to do so. Many of the countries were embarrassed by the council’s treatment of Israel but would not stand up publicly, Haley noted.
American allies on the council tried to persuade Washington to stay onboard, saying that America’s membership gives the organization its last shred of credibility. Haley said that this is the reason the United States is leaving.
The ambassador said that America will now pursue human rights work outside the council.
Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly last year, Trump said that it is embarrassing that some of the world’s biggest human rights abusers sit on the Human Rights Council.