The United States is expected to signal on Tuesday, June 6 that it might withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council unless reforms are ushered in including the removal of what it sees as an “anti-Israel bias”, diplomats and activists said, according to Reuters.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who holds cabinet rank in President Donald Trump’s administration, said last week Washington would decide on whether to withdraw from the Council after its three-week session in Geneva ends this month.
Under Trump, Washington has broken with decades of U.S. foreign policy by turning away from multilateralism. His decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement last week drew criticism from governments around the world.
The Council’s critical stance of Israel has been a major sticking point for its ally the United States. Washington boycotted the body for three years under President George W. Bush before rejoining under Barack Obama in 2009.
Haley, writing in the Washington Post at the weekend, called for the Council to “end its practice of wrongly singling out Israel for criticism.”
The possibility of a U.S. withdrawal has raised alarm bells among Western allies and activists.
Eight groups, including Freedom House and the Jacob Blaustein Institute, wrote to Haley in May saying a withdrawal would be counterproductive since it could lead to the Council “unfairly targeting Israel to an even greater degree.”
In the letter, seen by Reuters, the groups also said that during the period of the U.S. boycott, the Council’s performance suffered “both with respect to addressing the world’s worst violators and with respect to its anti-Israel bias.”