The United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said on Tuesday that the U.S. is considering pulling out of the UN’s Human Rights Council due to its choice to act on what Haley calls an “anti-Israel bias” in reference to the disparity between the number of resolutions placed on Israel versus the far fewer number of resolutions placed on other states on the 47-member Council who are known to be human rights violators. The U.K. and Israel have previously accused the Council of this “bias” as well.
She explicitly referred to a total of five resolutions placed against Israel in March, as compared to human rights violators like Venezuela, who received zero.
Haley outlined reforms the U.S. wants to see in the Human Rights Council that would allow the U.S. to remain a member of the Council. She first called for an acknowledgment by the Council of the “anti-Israel bias.” She also proposed reforms on the process in which nations join the Council. She says by making voting much more competitive, the problem of human rights violators joining will be alleviated. A number of other human rights organizations and groups have been critical of the Council’s procedures for membership and its lack of enforcement of its resolutions. After all, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and others are members of the Human Rights Council but are human rights violators.
However, a withdrawal from the Council by the U.S. could be detrimental to the validity of their constitutional protections, could result in financial setbacks that would hinder the Council’s ability to operate at full capacity, and it has been reported that the number of resolutions against Israel would actually be lower with the United States remaining the Council.
For now, it seems that the United States’ position on the Human Rights Council has moved from a firm threat to withdraw to at least the consideration of positive reform.