NYU professor points out the company the US will keep by quitting the UN’s Human Rights Council

UN human rights council room
Peter Bolton

On 19 June, the US announced it was pulling out of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – just as President Donald Trump was facing significant criticism for his government’s treatment of immigrant children. The decision, and its timing, sparked a big reaction on Twitter.

Political scientist and New York University (NYU) professor Ian Bremmer, for example, made a pertinent point. He highlighted that the US now joins just three other countries that, according to the New York Times, “refuse to participate in the council’s meetings and deliberations”:

Curious timing

Trump administration officials derided the UNHRC as “not worthy of its name”. And it took particular issue with the UNHRC’s consistent criticism of Israeli human rights abuses. Israel has reportedly been “lobbying hard” for the US to leave the UNHRC since Trump took power.

But many people on Twitter highlighted the curious timing of the decision, given recent condemnation of America’s own actions:

Kenneth Roth from Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, said:

Indeed, the US had little to say previously about its repressive allies in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, the PhilippinesRwanda, and elsewhere being members of the UNHRC.

‘Those pesky human rights’

Organisations and figures from around the world criticised the Trump administration’s decision. The UN Human Rights Council itself, for example, tweeted:

And former Mexican president Vicente Fox also pointed out the hypocrisy of the US leaving the UNHRC when the Trump administration itself is facing criticism for its (recently watered down) policy of separating immigrant children from their families:

And the Jeremy Corbyn for PM Twitter account said:

The move on the part of the Trump administration will serve only to further alienate the US from the rest of the international community. It also fits within a wider pattern of the US straining its relationships with its more moderate allies in Canada and Western Europe in favor of its alliance with increasingly extreme-right states such as Israel.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult not to see the US as a rogue state that has fallen outside the norms of other developed countries.

Featured image courtesy of United States Mission Geneva

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