UN chief Antonio Guterres on 20 June defended the UN Human Rights Council and said he would have “much preferred” for the US to remain in the world body, hours after America withdrew from it, citing alleged bias.
The decision to pull the US out of the UN Human Rights Council was announced by US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who also criticised the council for a “disproportionate focus and unending hostility towards Israel.”The US condemned the Geneva-based Human Rights Council’s “shameless hypocrisy” in absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those committing no offence, saying America will not take lectures from hypocritical institutions. The Geneva-based Human Rights Council is a 47-member inter-governmental body within the UN system, that not only seeks to promote and protect human rights, but also addresses alleged rights violations and makes recommendations on them, the statement said.
It is a forum for discussing all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention, throughout the year. The members are elected by the UN General Assembly, it said.The US has long criticised the Human Rights Council for its standing agenda item 7 on rights violations by all parties in the Palestinian Territories.
This item was included when the council’s agenda was drawn up at the conclusion of its initial year, in 2007, at a time when the US had decided not to participate in the council.
The US has actively campaigned for removing agenda item 7, and has opposed resolutions dealing with the Palestinian Territories, even when not presented under this agenda item, such as a recent Special Session resolution creating an inquiry into violence in Gaza.