US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the US would withdraw from the Human Rights Council on June 19, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)
New York (People’s Daily) - In response to the US withdrawal on Tuesday from the United Nations (UN) body that promotes and protects global human rights, UN Secretary General António Guterres said he would have “much preferred” the US remain.
Guterres said in a statement read by UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric that the UN Geneva-based Human Rights Council was a part of the UN’s overall “Human Rights architecture,”which “plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.”
The 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 later offers recommendations on potential solutions.
The protective body serves as a forum that discusses all thematic human rights issues and situations in need of attention. The members are elected by the UN General Assembly.
“The Secretary-General would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council,” Guterres said in the statement.
The US announced its decision at the end of regular business hours Tuesday, when, according to news reports, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley appeared together with Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Both had accused the Council of displaying an entrenched bias against Israel and criticized what they said was the body’s willingness to admit nations which were themselves human rights abusers.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Human Rights Council is regrettable.
“We’ve made no secret of the fact that the UK wants to see reform of the Human Rights Council, but we are committed to working to strengthen the Council from within,” said Johnson, adding that Britain’s support for the Human Rights Council remains steadfast.
“It is the best tool the international community has to address impunity in an imperfect world and to advance many of our international goals,” he said.