U.S. withdraws from UN Human Rights Commission

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem

Calling it an organisation "not worthy of its name", Haley said, "We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights".

A senior official adds the US gave the United Nations' Human Rights Council a year to reform, and says it has failed to do so.

But Haley, cited longstanding U.S. complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel. At that point, she told members that they must stop singling out Israel for condemnation and must clean up their roster - which includes Venezuela, China and Saudi Arabia, among others - or the council could bid the US farewell'.

"Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council", said Haley from the State Department alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Washington's withdrawal would be the latest USA rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.

"Countries have colluded with each other to undermine the current method of selecting members", Pompeo said.

"Since its creation, the council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than against the rest of the world combined".

"What is clear, is that the secretary-general is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the United Nations and the active participation of all member states in that architecture".

Last month, when the council voted to investigate the killing of over 100 Palestinians in protests along the Israel-Gaza border and accused Israel of excessive force, only the United States and Australia voted against.

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'But today we need to be honest, ' Pompeo said.

Haley repeatedly voted against United Nations measures that were critical of Israel, and she has rebuked the council for what she called a "chronic anti-Israel bias".

Haley has repeatedly attacked the council for its "relentless, pathological campaign" against Israel.

"The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable", Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said in Geneva.

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

Haley indicated that the United States was willing to consider rejoining the council if reformed were enacted to address her criticisms.

In a statement released by his office on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Washington for the move, describing the HRC as the "hostile anti-Israeli organization which betrayed its mission to defend human rights". British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was regrettable and that the council was the "best tool the global community has to address impunity". Haley said that this is the reason the United States is leaving.

Previous U.S. administrations have distanced themselves from Agenda Item 7, however, President Donald Trump has raised the prospect of withdrawing from the council altogether unless it is scrapped.

The US could withdraw from arguably the most important human rights body in the world.

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