John Bolton
John BoltonReuters

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that the United States intends to cut funding to the UN Human Rights Council from which it withdrew in June.

"We are going to de-fund the Human Rights Council," Bolton told The Associated Press in an interview, while warning that other UN agencies could also be up for cuts in U.S. funding.

Bolton rejected claims by some UN officials who insist the council gets its funding through the regular UN budget, meaning that its operating expenses can't be specifically targeted.

The United States pays about 22 percent of the UN budget as part of what's known as an "assessment" based on economic weight and other factors.

"We'll calculate 22 percent of the Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner's budget, and our remittances to the UN for this budget year will be less 22 percent of those costs — and we'll say specifically that's what we're doing," said Bolton.

"We expect that impact to occur on the Human Rights Council," he added.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced in June that the United States was quitting the UNHRC, 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."

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.