US to pull out of United Nations human rights body

1 2018 shows a girl running past hovels near a sewage water pool at a poor neighborhood in Gaza City

1 2018 shows a girl running past hovels near a sewage water pool at a poor neighborhood in Gaza City

According to Reuters, the withdrawal appeared to be "imminent" after diplomatic sources said it was not a question of if but of when the United States retreats from the council.

Diplomats say the United States is about to quit the United Nation's main human rights body, primarily over Washington's claim that the Human Rights Council is biased against Israel. They asked not to be identified discussing a decision that hadn't yet been made public.

The US withdrawal had been expected. Alongside his strong speech on the importance of girls' education, his commitment that the United Kingdom will vote against all resolutions in 2019 tabled under the infamous Item 7, which singles out Israel as the only country in the world to have its own agenda item, is an important victory for human rights. National Security Adviser John Bolton has been a prominent critic of the council since its inception.

Haley said a year ago that Washington was reviewing its membership and called for reform and elimination of a "chronic anti-Israel bias".

The United States is midway through a three-year term on the council, whose objective is to denounce and investigate human rights abuses. The members she said the administration no longer considers worthy of upholding human rights include Venezuela, Cuba, China and Saudi Arabia.

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A State Department spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, while the United Nations said it hadn't received a notification that the u.s. was withdrawing.

The State Department's web site says protection of fundamental human rights was a "foundation stone" for the United States' creation over two centuries ago and that promoting respect for human rights since has been a "central goal" of USA foreign policy.

On Monday, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announced his country will, in the future, vote against any resolution considered under Agenda Item 7, which was enacted in 2007 and makes Israel's actions - particularly as it pertains to the Palestinian occupation - a permanent, recurring debate among HRC member states. Item 7 on "Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories" has been part of the council's regular business nearly as long as it has existed.

The presence of multiple human rights-violating countries on the Human Rights Council has damaged both the reputation of the council and the cause of human rights.

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