Report: US to boycott UN Human Rights Council over anti-Israel positions Delegates listen to the speech of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in June 2016 at the opening of a new U.N. Human Rights Council's session in Geneva. The U.S. ...and more »
President Donald Trumpâ€™s administration will reportedly boycott the United Nations Human Rights Council over the groupâ€™s perceived anti-Israel positions.
According to a report from the Washington Free Beacon, the White House has chosen to snub the council because of at least five anti-Israel resolutions it is slated to take up Monday, when the groupÂ will also consider Agenda Item Seven, which mandates the council debate Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians during each of its sessions.
All other human rights violations, the Jerusalem Post reported, are dealt with under Agenda Item Four.Â Under former President George W. Bush, the U.S. never participated in council debates, but former President Barack Obama believed it was important for the country to engage with the group.
According to the councilâ€™s practical guide, Agenda Item Seven, which deals with the â€œimpact of the Israeli occupation on human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,â€ is the â€œonly country-based situation to feature as a permanent itemâ€ in every meeting.Â Discussion on Item Seven also addresses Palestiniansâ€™Â â€œrightâ€ to â€œself-determination.â€
Agenda Item Four, unlike Item Seven, does not have a â€œpermanentâ€ place on the council, according to the guide. Item Four is a discussion that centers on any â€œhuman rights situations that require the councilâ€™s attention.â€
The U.S. was on the council for six of Obamaâ€™s eight years in office. Under his administration, the U.S. always votedÂ in support of Israel and in the final years of Obamaâ€™s presidency, the U.S. did not participate in Agenda Item Seven debates.
â€œThe United States strongly and unequivocally opposes the existence of the U.N. Human Rights Councilâ€™s Agenda Item Seven,â€ the State Department said Monday in a statement, according to the Post. â€œ[T]he United States will vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item and is encouraging other countries to do the same.â€
â€œTodayâ€™s actions in the council are yet another reminder of that bodyâ€™s long-standing bias against Israel. No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the council,â€ itÂ continued.
Trump administration officials told the Free Beacon that the increased pressure on the U.N. is part of an organized effort by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who hopes to reform the international organization and eliminate its perceived anti-Israel bias.
Haley and Secretary of State Rex TillersonÂ said the councilâ€™s anti-Israel agenda must be remedied before the U.S. rejoins theÂ council.
â€œThe argument that the U.S. has to participate in bodies like the United Nations Human Rights Council or risk losing our influence over it is ridiculous,â€ one unnamed official told the Free Beacon. â€œThe UNHRC is, like its predecessor, morally bankrupt and the only good news is that its actions have little practical effect in the real world.Â Weâ€™ve wasted enough time and money on it.â€
Moving forward, the Trump White House has said it intends to vote against every U.N. resolution that negatively impacts Israel and will encourage other countries to do the same.
All of this follows the Obama administrationâ€™s controversial decision to not vote against but abstain from a vote on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which demands Israel halt construction in land Palestinians claim as their own.
In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had no question â€œwhatsoeverâ€ that Obama was behind the controversial U.N. resolution.
â€œWe have unequivocal evidence that the Security Council resolution passed in the U.N. against Israel was led by the administration,â€ he said at the time.
The Obama White House repeatedly denied having any involvement in the drafting of or planning for the resolution.
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