Trump Administration to Announce US Withdrawal From UN Human Rights Council

The UN human rights chief condemned the administration’s family separation policy just one day before.

Michael Brochstein/ZUMA

The Trump administration is expected to announce that the United States will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council over what the administration has long viewed as the body’s anti-Israel bias. The announcement will reportedly happen Tuesday afternoon.

The move would follow through on last year’s threat by the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to leave if certain reforms were not adopted, including the expulsion of countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela from the council. In a speech from Geneva, Haley also insisted that it was “essential the council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it’s to have any credibility.”

In a June 2017 editorial for the Washington Post, in which she claimed the council was “whitewashing” brutality, Haley wrote:

The presence of multiple human rights-violating countries on the Human Rights Council has damaged both the reputation of the council and the cause of human rights. When the world’s preeminent human rights body is turned into a haven for dictators, the idea of international cooperation in support of human dignity is discredited. Cynicism grows. There is already more than enough cynicism to go around these days.

The timing of the announcement on Tuesday comes amid mounting outcry, both domestically and internationally, over the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration policy separating immigrant children from their families at the border. Just one day before, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s top human rights official, condemned the zero-tolerance policy as “unconscionable.” In the same speech, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also denounced countries such as North Korea and Venezuela for their human rights abuses.