Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said yesterday that it is not surprising that the U.S. withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council, because the Trump administration “gives orders to snatch crying babies from their parents’ arms.”
Ashrawi’s sentiments were implicitly echoed by the Human Rights Council itself. It pinned a tweet above posts criticizing the U.S.’s separation of immigrant children from their parents, saying, quoting a statement by the council’s head, Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad: “Disappointing, if not really surprising, news. Given the state of #HumanRights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back.”
In the last six weeks, the U.S. has removed more than 2,000 immigrant children from their parents, sending them to youth and infant holding facilities in Texas. President Donald Trump yesterday said he would sign an executive order ending the practice.
The decision to leave the UN’s highest human rights body was announced in Washington by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley who cited the council’s focus on Israel and charged it with being a “protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.” Haley added that she first raised the idea of leaving the body last year, if changes were not made. The council regularly raises human rights abuses committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory, as mandated by a standing agenda item.
Ashrawi called Haley statements about the council’s perceived bias “deceptive and blatantly untrue.” She went on to say the Trump administration is waving off its commitment to other nations, citing trade and climate deals.
Leaving the Human Right Council follows is the latest in how the Trump administration has “targeted multilateral and regional organizations and agreements,” Ashrawi said.
“Disappointing, if not really surprising, news. Given the state of #HumanRights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back” — UN Human Rights Chief #Zeid following USA decision to withdraw from U.N. Human Rights Council.#StandUp4HumanRights
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) June 19, 2018
In Israel the U.S.’s decision to leave the human rights body was applauded. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the Trump administration in a statement released by his media advisor.
“Instead of dealing with regimes that systematically violate human rights, the UNHRC obsessively focuses on Israel, the one genuine democracy in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said, “The U.S. decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough.”
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman called pulling out of the council a “courageous decision,” adding, “America will continue to lead the world in advancing human rights without the baggage of this corrupt organization.”