Report: U.S. withdrawal from UNHRC 'imminent'

Officials say United States could quit United Nations Human Rights Council over its continued anti-Israel bias.

Elad Benari,

United Nations Human Rights Council
United Nations Human Rights Council
Reuters

The United States could quit the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) soon, activists and diplomats told the Reuters news agency on Thursday.

According to these sources, talks with the United States over how to reform the UNHRC have failed to meet Washington’s demands.

A U.S. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the withdrawal appeared to be “imminent” but did not provide further details.

Diplomatic sources said it was not a question of if but of when the United States retreats from the Human Rights Council, which will hold a three-week session beginning on Monday and running through July 6.

A separate U.S. official in Geneva had no information about a looming pull-out during the upcoming talks, saying, “We are still moving ahead with our engagement for the coming session.”

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has repeatedly blasted the UNHRC for its obsession with criticizing Israel. She publicly told the Council a year ago that Washington might leave the body unless a “chronic anti-Israel bias” were removed.

The UNHRC continuously singles out Israel for criticism, while ignoring other conflicts in the region, such as the ongoing bloody civil war in Syria.

Last March, the council passed a series of anti-Israel resolutions, including a motion condemning Israel for its construction in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and urging states and firms to avoid ties with “settlements”.

It later issued a report which offers to “advise and support” efforts to create a “blacklist” database of companies operating in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and eastern Jerusalem, so that the international community could boycott them.

The U.S. boycotted the UNHRC for three years under President George W. Bush before rejoining under Barack Obama in 2009.

Last month, the 47-member forum once again singled out Israel when it voted to establish a Commission of Inquiry to examine possible war crimes committed by Israel during the confrontations on the Gaza border.

The United States and Australia cast the only “no” votes. Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, condemned the move, while Haley condemned the vote as “another shameful day for human rights”.


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