Haley assailed the UNHRC for its failure to address actual human rights abuses, while warning that if it did not cease with its obsession with Israel, the US would drop the council.
US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley decried the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for its failure to address human rights abuses around the globe, while warning that if the Council did not cease with its obsession with Israel, the US would leave the UNHRC.
“As you know, the United States is looking carefully at this Council and our participation in it,” Haley said. She spoke in reference to the effectiveness of the 47-member body, as the Council opened its three-week summer session in Geneva on Tuesday.
Haley said it is “essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility.”
She called on the council to adopt “the strongest possible resolutions on the critical human rights situations in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Belarus and Ukraine, and that it follow up to prevent further human rights violations and abuses in those countries.”
“There is no room here for cultural relativism. This Human Rights Council must adopt strong resolutions condemning violence and discrimination against women and it must take decisive action to eliminate trafficking,” she stressed.
She decried the “rapidly deteriorating human rights situation” in Venezuela, and said its government should withdraw from the UNHRC “until it can get its own house in order.
“Being a member of this council is a privilege, and no country who is a human rights violator should be allowed a seat at the table,” said Haley.
“Finally, it’s hard to accept that this Council has never considered a resolution on Venezuela, and yet it adopted five biased resolutions in March against a single country, Israel,” Haley concluded.
The Holocaust and ‘Israeli Occupation?’
In the meantime, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, focused on Israel.
He decried over 2,000 years of Jewish suffering culminating in the “colossal crime” of the Holocaust, while saying that Palestinians today mark “a half-century of deep suffering under occupation imposed by military force.”
Israel is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, which the Arabs view as a catastrophe.
Al-Hussein, a Jordanian national notorious for his anti-Israel bias, acknowledged that some people would respond “that the experiences of the two peoples are not equivalent.”
“How could I mention them in one breath? Indeed, I agree: The Holocaust was so monstrous and so mathematically planned and executed, it has no parallel, no modern equal,” he conceded.
He said ending what he termed as Israel’s “occupation of Palestinian areas” was essential for peace.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon responded to al-Hussein’s remarks by decrying the UNHRC’s failure to truly address human rights abuses.
“The connection between the Commissioner and human rights has proven to be purely coincidental and it comes as no surprise that he chose to spread lies about Israel before he even mentioned the massacres in Syria,” Danon charged.
“The Commissioner has forgotten that it is his job to care of human rights throughout the world, not to incite against Israel,” Danon stated. He pointed out that during al-Hussein’s tenure, the UNHRC has made attacks on Israel “its main goal.”
“We are looking forward to working with the US to enact real reforms and put an end to this most absurd chapter in the history of the UN,” Danon stated.
UNHRC ‘On Notice’
In March, the UK put the UNHRC “on notice” for its anti-Israel bias.
“If things do not change, in the future we will adopt a policy of voting against all resolutions concerning Israel’s conduct,” said UK Ambassador Julian Braithwaite.
American envoy Erin Barclay told the UNHRC earlier that month that Washington was considering its future engagement with the Council “with an eye toward reform,” saying that its “obsession with Israel” threatens the Council’s reliability.
The US contributes 22 percent of the UN’s budget, and has been discussing whether to cut funding.
The Human Rights Council was established in 2006. It replaced the UN Human Rights Commission, which was facing severe criticism because countries with poor rights records joined and blocked its mission.
The Bush administration refused to join the new council, questioning its efficacy. Under President Barack Obama, the US felt it was more useful to influence the Council from the inside. However, former US Secretary of State John Kerry said the UNHRC must cease with its “excessive and biased focus on Israel.”
“No one in this room can deny there is an unbalanced focus on one democratic country,” Kerry stated in March 2016. “It must be said that the UNHRC’s obsession with Israel risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization.”
The UNHRC is infamously biased against Israel, with nearly half of its resolutions focused solely on Israel, while it ignores war, strife and atrocities committed around the globe. 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. Meanwhile, the world’s worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran, and North Korea received far fewer condemnations.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
AP contributed to this report.