Haley slams UN Human Rights Council as ‘bully pulpit for human rights violators’

“Judged by how far it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ greatest failure,” Haley told the Heritage Foundation. 

By: World Israel News Staff

US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley defended her country’s decision to withdraw from the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNRC) Wednesday, saying it was the UN’s “greatest failure.”

Addressing the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, Haley condemned the UNHRC. “More often, the Human Rights Council has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world’s most inhumane regimes. It has been a bully pulpit for human rights violators,” she stated.

The US announced in June that it was officially withdrawing from the UNHRC. Prior to the announcement, the US had engaged in extensive diplomatic efforts for more than a year to address the critical flaws of the Council, especially its persistent bias against Israel and the ability of human rights violators to win elections to the Council and undermine its effectiveness.

While the Council should have been a place of conscience, it became a center of politics and solely focused on Israel in an unfair and relentless fashion, while ignoring conflict and suffering around the world, Haley said.

“Judged by how far it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ greatest failure,” she stated.

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According to Haley, the Council “has taken the idea of human dignity – the idea that is at the center of our national creed and the birthright of every human being – and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics. And that is a great tragedy.”

“Many of our friends urged us to stay for the sake of the institution. The United States, they said, provided the last shred of credibility the Council had. But that was precisely why we withdrew,” she said.

However, the US still has hope for the UNHRC and is open to rejoining if reforms take place. “Any country willing to work with us to reshape the Council need only ask. Fixing the institutional flaws of the Human Rights Council was, is, and will remain one of the biggest priorities at the UN,” she added.

‘A blazing red siren’

Remarking on the infamous Agenda Item 7, which requires the body to discuss potential Israeli human rights violations at every session, Haley noted that “this is the permanent part of the Human Rights Council agenda that is devoted exclusively to Israel. No other country – not Iran, not Syria, not North Korea – has an agenda item devoted solely to it.”

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“Agenda Item 7 is not directed at anything Israel does. It is directed at the very existence of Israel,” she charged. “It is a blazing red siren signaling the Human Rights Council’s political corruption and moral bankruptcy.”

The Heritage Foundation itself defended the US move in June, calling the Council “notably incurious about the human rights situations in some of the world’s most oppressive countries.”

Brett Schaefer, a senior fellow, pointed out that Trump could have withdrawn immediately after taking office but instead gave the Council 18 months to make changes.

Israeli leaders and officials have cited the UNHRC for its “obsessive hostility” toward Israel and “one-sided mandate.”

Over the past 10 years, the UNHRC has passed 62 resolutions condemning Israel. The world’s worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran, and North Korea received far fewer condemnations.