Allies and activists are already responding with alarm.
The international fallout from the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord has not even settled, and yet the White House is reportedly planning another step away from multilateralism and global alliances.
In yet another signal that this administration is largely unconcerned with continuing our nation’s role as a leader and a force for good in the world, Reuters reports that the United States is “expected to signal on Tuesday that it might withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council unless reforms are ushered in” — including a perceived “anti-Israel bias” on the part of the Council.
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley indicated that the decision would be made after the Council’s three-week session in Geneva, Switzerland, ends this month.
Haley recently penned an antagonistic op-ed for the Washington Post, in which she questioned whether the Council “actually supports human rights or is merely a showcase for dictatorships that use their membership to whitewash brutality.” She also took issue with “more than 70 resolutions” which the Council has passed against Israel.
But as Reuters notes, allies and activists, alarmed by the possible move, say that the U.S. withdrawing from the Council would only make things worse.
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.”
The Council has no powers other than to rebuke governments it deems as violating human rights and to order investigations but plays an important role in international diplomacy.
And Human Rights Watch also notes that making this move now would be “ill-advised and badly timed,” as the Council has recently made important strides and achievements for human rights around the world.
“This is not the time – and the Human Rights Council is not the place – for the United States to embolden rights-abusing governments by withdrawing from, or otherwise undermining, the council.”
The Trump White House continues to evince a marked lack of concern for the global alliances once thought to be sacrosanct. Instead, there is a growing isolationism emanating from Washington, alongside policy and pronouncements that are already ratcheting up hatred for the United States.
A move like this would do absolutely nothing to quell such sentiments.