The Trump administration is expected to announce Tuesday that the U.S. will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will use a joint statement in Washington at 5p.m. to announce and explain the departure from the 47-member council.
Speaking to Fox News, a senior official said that the UNHRC protects human rights abusers, allows them to serve on the council and shows bias in rendering decisions.
The official claimed that countries like China, Egypt and Russia worked to undermine U.S. reform efforts and that the council has passed more resolutions this year condemning Israel than Iran, Syria and North Korea combined.
Trump has long been critical of the UNHRC, which he has accused of showing a bias against Israel.
Haley last year slammed the body for its “relentless, pathological campaign” against Israel. Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton opposed the creation of the body when he served as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush.
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.
The move to exit the UNHRC extends a broader Trump administration pattern of stepping back from international agreements and forums under the president’s “America First” policy.
Since taking office, the administration has announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, the U.N. educational and cultural organization and the Iran nuclear deal. Other contentious moves have included slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum against key trading partners, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy to the holy city from Tel Aviv.
Haley has been the driving force behind the latest move, which would be unprecedented in the 12-year history of the council. No country has ever dropped out voluntarily. Libya was kicked out seven years ago.
The move could reinforce the perception that the Trump administration is seeking to advance Israel’s agenda on the world stage, just as it prepares to unveil its long-awaited peace plan despite Palestinian outrage over the embassy relocation. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is visiting the Middle East this week as the White House works to lay the groundwork for unveiling the plan.
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