The snub of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council is a long overdue move by the US, but the timing will be less than fortunate. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will jointly announce the withdrawal this afternoon, citing a lack of reform and generally the same issues that led the Bush administration to withdraw more than a decade ago:
The U.S. is expected to announce its withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday and deliver on a long-running threat to leave the organization unless it adopted major reforms.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley were scheduled to hold a joint appearance at the State Department late on Tuesday, a move that diplomats and activists interpreted as a sign an announcement was imminent. The State Department didn’t immediately comment.
Ms. Haley has spoken out frequently against the U.N. Human Rights Council and denounced what she called its “pathological bias” against Israel, a major U.S. ally. The council has issued some 70 resolutions targeting Israel, according to the State Department.
Last year, Ms. Haley threatened to leave over U.S. concerns that the council was “not a good investment of our time, money and national prestige” and presented a list of proposed changes to address its lack of credibility. These included forcing members to vote publicly and a mandate to debate the human-rights situation in Palestinian areas.
Back in the day, the panel was called the UN Human Rights Commission and was routinely led by some of the worst human-rights abusers in the world. It had an obsession with Israel to the exclusion of almost all other issues, especially those involving the countries that formed the commission. George W. Bush pointedly withdrew the US from it and refused to join its replacement, as he saw it as the same in all but name.
Barack Obama decided to have the US rejoin the new UNHRC shortly after taking office. Nine years later, it’s as obsessed with Israel as ever, and includes such paragons of human rights as Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Bush turned out to be prophetic after all.
However, they’re not entirely obsessed with Israel any longer. The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad, blasted the Trump administration yesterday for child-separation practices in immigration enforcement:
The UNHRC, meanwhile, opened its session on Monday with a blistering attack by Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, on Trump’s immigration policy – calling the policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. southern border “unconscionable.”
Trump is facing intense criticism – both domestically and on the international stage – over that … policy.
One has to suspect that the UN would have found something to use in order to deflect from decades-long criticism over the composition and activities of their human-rights bodies. At the moment, though, they can grab for the low-hanging fruit to cast this as sour grapes. That’s a nine-day narrative, though; the insistence of the UN in having the worst of the world’s human-rights abusers sit in judgment on others is an ongoing stain on the United Nations. Having Cuba and Venezuela as human-rights judges is the equivalent of putting Harvey Weinstein on a commission to promote female empowerment in the workplace. It’s grotesque, and it’s long past time that the US ceased cooperating with it.