U.S. exit from Human Rights Council 'opportunity for Australia'

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to reporters at United Nations headquarters in a file

"Israel thanks President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Haley for their courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council", he tweeted. "The Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy, with numerous world's worst human-rights abuses going ignored and some of the world's most serious offenders sitting on the council itself", Pompeo reveals.

Since 2006, the Human Rights Council has passed more than 70 resolutions critical of Israel, 10 times as often as it has criticized Iran.

"The ultimate beneficiary of this decision will be China, which has been flexing its muscles in the Human Rights Council recently and would love to use it as a platform to roll back Western positions on individual rights", Richard Gowan, an expert on the United Nations, told Newsweek.

"It is bad news, I think for the United States, it is bad news for everybody who cares about human rights", Slovenian President Borut Pahor told the 47-member forum in Geneva where the US seat was empty.

Rep. Eliot Engel, the House Foreign Affairs top Democrat released a statement on Tuesday that showcases widespread condemnation of the organization throughout the American Senate.

Israel's Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter during a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 18, 2018, which voted for an investigation into Gaza border violence.

"It's the right decision to defund the Human Rights Council".

"It is bad news, it is bad news for this council, it is bad news I think for the United Nations".

Research on asylum seekers has revealed a "ripple effect" when countries seen as human rights leaders shirk their responsibilities, she said, noting that Kenya, Jordan and Indonesia were among countries that had been hosting refugees for decades, but "were now saying European governments - the architects of the refugee convention - are practising double standards".

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"China will continue to work with other parties and make contributions to the sound development of global human rights through constructive dialogue and collaboration", he said. The Trump administration has demonstrated since its start a failure to do either.

"When the USA is there, and in the instances where the USA actually agrees with other countries on the council, that can be a fairly powerful form of consensus, even if the resolution doesn't do much". But some said the decision would have been a bigger shock to the United Nations system and more of a clarion call for the cause of human rights if it were not coming from a USA administration that has shown a broad disdain for multilateral organizations and actions.

And will this further isolate the U.S. on the world stage?

The announcement of the withdrawal comes only one day after the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights slammed the Trump administration for the "unconscionable" separation of children from their parents. Now a two-thirds majority vote by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly is needed to suspend a member state.

In the past, they argued, the U.S., while alone in defending Israel, could at least exert some influence, for example with regards to the election of a new high commissioner for human rights or the publication of a blacklist of Israel companies operating in the West Bank. "Given the state of #HumanRights in today's world, the USA should be stepping up, not stepping back".

The U.S. pullout was bound to have ripple effects for at least two countries at the council: China and Israel.

In a letter, Ms Haley said groups worked "opposite the United States" and were partially to blame for the USA withdrawal from the body. The United States was half-way through a three-year term on the Geneva-based 47-member body. "It reflects a widely-held view in the United States".

Many politicians echoed the Obama administration's reasons for joining the council when speaking out against the decision.

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