"Getting off the council is an assertion of American determination to stick by its constitution and not to recognize that there is some higher authority at the United Nations, whether it's the [Human Rights] Council or the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to judge our performance or to give us advice on how to implement the constitution", Bolton said on Thursday. He said the USA walkout could be a "big bang" to help prod reform at the council.
Rights groups including Human Rights Campaign, Care International and Freedom House, said the USA pullout from the United Nations human rights council would "make it more hard to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world".
The US withdrawal is unprecedented in the 12-year history of the 47-member council - no country has ever dropped out voluntarily.
That was Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur for extreme poverty.
B'nai B'rith International President Gary Saltzman and CEO Daniel Mariaschin said, "The United States' decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) presents the international organization with an important opportunity for dramatic and urgently needed reform, as the steady politicization of the body has rendered it largely irrelevant at best and a destructive actor at worst". Washington also relocated its embassy to Jerusalem after recognising it as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of USA policy. Born of a recognition that the United Nations needed to move beyond the East-West divide that had hampered effective progress on human rights, states agreed in 2006 both to widen and deepen the agenda for cooperation.
Hugh de Kretser, the executive director of the Human Rights Law Centre, said it was short-sighted and could hurt the US's global standing.
"Trump's withdrawal is especially disturbing given his persistent praise for despots and dictators with abysmal human rights records, not to mention his administration's cruel mistreatment of immigrant families seeking asylum".
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In this case, these observers add, the losers are the world's oppressed, and the many thousands of rights advocates and local organizations around the world that have depended on America's voice and support to stand up to tyrants and bullies.
And will this further isolate the USA on the world stage?
Haley said the Human Rights Council "damages the cause of human rights".
New Zealand, which stepped aside to allow the United States to win election to the Council in 2009 under President Barack Obama, may be a good choice as a replacement, two diplomats said. "It is a UN body that, like the entire UN system, is called upon to serve all Member States, not just one country or group of countries", Russia's UN mission said in a statement. Libya was kicked out seven years ago. After a year off, Washington was re-elected in 2016 for its current third term.
"Israel, the world's only Jewish state and the only democracy in the Middle East, is the only country subjected to a separate, permanent agenda item at the UNHRC, which targets it for more condemnation and punishment than any other country on the planet", they noted.
"President [George W.] Bush wisely withdrew the United States from the UNHRC during his tenure".
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