Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke at Washington, DC’s Heritage Foundation about the US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council.
The Trump administration withdrew in June because of the council’s bias against Israel and its willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.
Haley called the council a “protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.”
“When we made it clear we would strongly pursue council reform, these countries came out of the woodwork to oppose it,” she said. “The dictatorships of Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt all attempted to undermine our reform efforts this past year.”
Haley told a packed room that she sought major changes on the council throughout her tenure. But countries didn’t want to make any changes in the public, only behind closed doors.
Haley cited the admission of Congo as a member to the council, even as mass graves were being discovered there.
“More often the Human Rights Council has provided cover not condemnation for the world’s most inhumane regimes. The Human Rights Council has been not a place of conscious but a place of politics,” said Haley.
“It has focused its attention unfairly and relentlessly on Israel,” said Haley.
She also spoke about the failure to address human rights abuses in Venezuela and Iran.
“The United States of America is human rights,” Haley said. “As long as we have a voice we must advocate for everyone, especially mothers and children.”
“I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments,” Haley said. “On the contrary. Any country who wants to reshape the council only needs to ask.”
Haley did say the council did do some good, by putting a spotlight on the Assad regime, and helped some political prisoners. But she add, “These have been the exceptions.”
She ended her speech saying, “The Human Rights Council is the United Nations' greatest failure.”