The United States has withdrawn from the United Nations’ top human rights body accusing it of “chronic bias” against Israel, in a move that was criticised by human rights groups and described as regrettable by foreign leaders.
The decision to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council was announced on Tuesday by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN.
“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organisation that makes a mockery of human rights,” she said alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, DC.
Minutes later, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, called the announcement by US President Donald Trump’s administration “disappointing, if not really surprising”.
“Given the state of human rights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back,” he added.
The European Union said the move “risks undermining the role of the US as a champion and supporter of democracy on the world stage”, while British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called it “regrettable”.
On the other hand, Israel, a major ally of the US, praised Washington’s “courageous” move.