US quits UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

US quits UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

Another US withdrawal

  • The United States has announced that it was leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council
  • It was the latest withdrawal by the Trump administration from an international institution
  • The move extends a broader Trump administration pattern of stepping back from international agreements and forums under the president’s “America First” policy.

Reason given for withdrawal

  • There has been longstanding U.S. complaint that the 47-member council is biased against Israel. The U.S. is Israel’s biggest defender at other U.N. organisations.
  • Another reason could be the Trump administration’s move for detaining children separated from their immigrant parents at the US-Mexico border faces widespread criticism.

What is UNHRC ?

  • The UN set up the council in 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights, which faced widespread criticism for letting countries with poor human rights records become members.
  • A group of 47 elected countries from different global regions serve for three-year terms on the council.
  • The UNHRC meets three times a year, and reviews the human rights records of all UN members in a special process the council says gives countries the chance to say what they have done to improve human rights, known as the Universal Periodic Review.
  • The council also sends out independent experts and has set up commissions of inquiry to report on human rights violations in countries including Syria, North Korea, Burundi, Myanmar and South Sudan.

Special mention of Israel at UNHRC

  • Israel is the only country in the world whose rights record comes up for discussion at every council session, under “Item 7” on the agenda
  • Item 7 on “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” has been part of the council’s regular business almost as long as it has existed

Ripple effects on China

  1. At the rights council, the United States has recently been the most unabashed critic of rights abuses in China


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