WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will announce on Tuesday that the United Sates is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, a Trump administration source told Reuters.
The United States is half-way through a three-year term on the main U.N. rights body and had long threatened to quit if it was not reformed, accusing the 47-member Geneva-based body of being anti-Israel.
Reuters reported last week that activists and diplomats said talks with the United States on reforms had failed to meet Washington’s demands, suggesting that the Trump administration would quit.
Washington’s withdrawal would be the latest U.S. rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.
The United States is facing intense criticism for detaining children separated from their immigrant parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein on Monday called on Washington to halt its “unconscionable” policy.
The United States boycotted the Human Rights Council for three years under President George W. Bush before rejoining under Barack Obama in 2009.
Haley said a year ago that Washington was reviewing its membership of the Human Rights Council, and called for reform and elimination of a “chronic anti-Israel bias.” The body, set up in 2006, has a permanent standing agenda item on suspected violations committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories that Washington wants removed.
The council last month voted to probe killings in Gaza and accused Israel of excessive use of force. The United States and Australia cast the only “no” votes. Israel’s ambassador in Geneva castigated the council for “spreading lies against Israel.”
Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and James Dalgleish