Nikki Haley
Nikki HaleyReuters

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on Wednesday defended her country’s decision to leave the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), describing the body as the "greatest failure" of the United Nations.

Haley told the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington that the Geneva-based body had "provided cover, not condemnation, for the world's most inhumane regimes."

"Judged by how far it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the United Nations' greatest failure," she said, as quoted by AFP.

Haley announced last month that the United States was quitting the council, accusing it of bias against Israel and condemning the "hypocrisy" of its members including China, Egypt, Venezuela and Cuba.

The human rights council has been "not a place of conscience, but a place of politics," Haley said, adding that it had focused its attention "unfairly and relentlessly on Israel."

Haley took aim at the council for failing to speak out in support of anti-government protests in Iran, to condemn the violence in Venezuela and over the election of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the council after its security forces faced allegations of atrocities in the Kasai region.

The U.S. move followed previous threats by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Human Rights Council over its anti-Israel bias.

In March, Haley issued a statement after the UNHRC adopted five resolutions condemning Israel while adopting only one resolution each against North Korea, Iran, and Syria. This has become an annual ritual, as every March, the Council sets aside only two sessions to debate human rights violations and abuses in all countries and another entire session just to debate a single country, Israel.

“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name,” said the American Ambassador.

Haley also condemned the council after it voted to establish a commission of inquiry to examine possible war crimes committed by Israel during the recent confrontations on the Gaza border.

On Wednesday, she again took a swipe at rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for failing to back the U.S. bid to reform the council through a resolution at the General Assembly.

After the U.S. withdrawal, Amnesty International posted a sarcastic tweet on the issue, listing 10 reasons for the U.S. to leave the UNHRC, all of which were blank.