The US officially withdrew its place in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Tuesday for being a “cesspool of political bias,” particularly against its ally Israel.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley threatened the pull out a year ago, arguing the UNHRC displays anti-Israel bias and ignores violations from other countries like Venezuela, Cuba, China, Burundi, and Saudi Arabia, which she described as “the worst human rights abusers.”
“For too long, the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias,” Haley said during Monday’s joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Haley added that Israel is “singled out in a way that no other country is singled out,” and said reforms were needed to make the council “a serious advocate for human rights.”
“I want make it crystal clear that this is not a retreat from human rights commitments, on the contrary, 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,” she added.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the decision on Facebook on Tuesday, thanking President Donald Trump, Pompeo and Haley for their “courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council.”
“For years, the UNHRC has proven to be a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights,” Netanyahu said, calling Israel the “one genuine democracy in the Middle East.”
“The US decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough,” he added.
On Monday Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said a dedicated agenda item on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories each year was “disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace.”
“But I stress that that does not mean that we in the U.K. are blind to the value of this council,” Johnson said.
The UNHRC l has passed more than 70 resolutions critical of Israel since its creation in 2006, 10 times as often as steps it’s taken against Iran, according to the Washington Post.
The UN’s high commissioner for human rights also took aim at US border policy on Monday, calling the separation of children and their parents “government-sanctioned child abuse.”
“The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.