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U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley announces the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council at the State Department in Washington on Tuesday. | REUTERS
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley announces the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council at the State Department in Washington on Tuesday. | REUTERS

The United Nations, U.S. and human rights: a paradoxical relationship

The Trump administration has decided to withdraw from the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in the midst of criticism for its own anti-human measures…

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In politics, not everything is black and white, it’s true, but understanding the positions of the Trump administration in terms of human rights is increasingly difficult.

Amid increasing criticism for its coercive measures against immigrants on the border - where more than 2,000 children have been forcibly separated from their parents - the United States has now decided to oppose international positions on human rights, in a move that many perceive as ironic.

United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced last Tuesday the withdrawal of her commission from the Human Rights Council of the international organization, alleging that the council has "grown more callous over the past year and become a protector human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias, "the Washington Post reported.

"I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments," Haley said during a joint appearance with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department. "On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights."

Haley's definition of "hypocrisy" is, again, questionable.

Although her decision was argued because of the incorporation of countries with a record of longstanding human rights violations, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, her true motivation seems to be more inclined to her country's own political bias in favor of Israel, a country frequently attacked in the discussions for its behavior against the Palestinian population in the territory.

Haley said the “disproportionate focus and the unending hostility towards Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights," Reuters reported.

After the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the country’s positions regarding Middle Eastern politics are becoming clearer by the day.

This new decision joins the isolationist campaign of the Trump administration, where negotiations are unilateral and reflect a radical imposition of the policy "with me or against me" that has been promoted by Donald Trump since the beginning of his government.

The United States is now the first country to withdraw from the council, according to officials of the organization, after President George W. Bush was one of the fundamental voices for its founding in 2006.

For the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Director Kenneth Roth, the withdrawal of the United States from the Council is "a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” including violations of human rights carried out at home.

Lauren Wolfe explained this perspective in her column for The Atlantic, arguing that several human rights experts see this move as a way to "prevent the United States from being called out for its own alleged human-rights violations."

"Trump has led an orchestrated attack on press freedom, while Congress has rolled back protections for women and girls, both at home and abroad," explains Wolfe. "HRW also points to media reports that say the United States has interrogated detainees in Yemen in secret prisons known for torture."

After United Nations officials - such as Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the high commissioner for human rights - described the policy of separating families as "government-sanctioned child abuse," it is even foreseeable that the Trump administration would try to denounce the body that plans to criticize it because it is "a simple, if blunt, way to try to discredit it."

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