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Nikki Haley says Human Rights Council is UN’s ‘greatest failure’; defends US withdrawal

Alleging that Human Rights Council has been, not a place of conscience, but a place of politics, Nikki Haley said the UN body has focused its attention unfairly and relentlessly on Israel.

Nikki Haley says Human Rights Council is UN's 'greatest failure'; defends US withdrawal US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (Reuters)

Terming the Human Rights Council as the United Nations’ “greatest failure”, US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley today alleged that the institution has provided cover for the world’s most inhumane regimes as she defended the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from it.

Last month, the US withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council and condemned its “shameless hypocrisy” in absolving wrongdoers through silence and falsely condemning those committing no offence, saying America will not take lectures from hypocritical institutions. In her remarks at a top American think-tank The Heritage Foundation, the Indian-American US Ambassador to the UN alleged that “more often, the Human Rights Council has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world’s most inhumane regimes. It has been a bully pulpit for human rights violators.”

Alleging that Human Rights Council has been, not a place of conscience, but a place of politics, Haley said the UN body has focused its attention unfairly and relentlessly on Israel.

Meanwhile, it has ignored the misery inflicted by regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Zimbabwe and China, she said. “Judged by how far it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the United Nations’ greatest failure,” Haley said.

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“It has taken the idea of human dignity – the idea that is at the center of our national creed and the birthright of every human being – and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics. And that is a great tragedy,” Haley said, noting that she did not come to this conclusion happily, or lightly.

“Many of our friends urged us to stay for the sake of the institution. The United States, they said, provided the last shred of credibility the Council had. But that was precisely why we withdrew,” she said.

The right to speak freely, to associate and worship freely; to determine ones own future; to be equal before the law – these are sacred rights, she asserted. “We take these rights seriously – too seriously to allow them to be cheapened by an institution – especially one that calls itself the Human Rights Council,” she said.


Asserting that no one should make the mistake of equating membership in the Human Rights Council with the support for human rights, Haley said to this day, the US does more for human rights, both inside the UN and around the world, than any other country. The US will continue to do that. “We just won’t do it inside a Council that consistently fails the cause of human rights,” she said.

Haley said America’s withdrawal from the Human Rights Council does not mean that it has given up its fight for reform. “On the contrary, any country willing to work with us to reshape the Council need only ask. Fixing the institutional flaws of the Human Rights Council was, is, and will remain one of the biggest priorities at the UN,” she added.

First published on: 19-07-2018 at 07:32 IST
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