United States quits United Nations human rights council

Nikki Haley lashed out at the council, calling it a "cesspool of political bias".
Nikki Haley lashed out at the council, calling it a "cesspool of political bias". Photo credit: Getty/ file

The United States has quit the United Nations Human Rights Council.

US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley said the body is "hypocritical and self-serving" and "makes a mockery of human rights".

The decision to quit comes a year after Ms Haley accused the council of "chronic anti-Israel bias" and said the US would review its membership.

UN human rights commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, called the US withdrawal "disappointing, if not really surprising, news".

"Given the state of #HumanRights in today's world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back," he said on Twitter.

Ms Haley announced the decision at a joint press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

She said the council is a "cesspool of political bias" but added "this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments," the BBC reports.

Mr Pompeo said the council was an exercise in "shameless hypocrisy with many of the world's worst human rights abuses going ignored and some of the world's most serious offenders sitting on the council itself."

The decision to quit comes amidst the US facing heavy criticism for its practice of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, which has been criticised by Mr Al Hussein.

The council was established in 2006, and the US joined in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

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