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US withdraws from UN human rights council

 

The US has pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling it a “cesspool of political bias”.

The “hypocritical and self-serving” body “makes a mockery of human rights”, said US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley.

Formed in 2006, the Geneva-based council has been criticised for allowing countries with questionable human rights records to be members.

But activists said the US move could hurt efforts to monitor and address human rights abuses around the world.

Ms. Haley announced her country’s intention to quit the council at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called the council “a poor defender of human rights”.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a statement released through his spokesman, responded by saying he would have “much preferred” the US to remain in the council.

The UN human rights commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called the US withdrawal “disappointing, if not really surprising, news”.

Israel, against which Mr. Pompeo said the Council was chronicly biased, praised the US decision.

Analysts say many in the Trump administration were riled by intense criticism over the US policy of separating child migrants from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

On Monday, Mr. Hussein appeared to pull no punches when he called the policy “unconscionable”.

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