Trump administration officials on Tuesday said the U.S. has pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying that the international body is "not worthy of its name."
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyHarris to hold fundraiser for McAuliffe ahead of Virginia governor's race Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid Trump schedules rallies in Iowa, Georgia MORE announced the withdrawal alongside Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group America needs a new strategy for Pacific Island Countries MORE, following multiple news reports that the move was imminent.
Haley blasted the council as a "protector of human rights abusers and cesspool of political bias" and accused the body of "politicizing and scapegoating countries with positive human rights records."
The withdrawal, which comes as the 47-member body begins a three-week session in Geneva, had been expected as a result of the Trump administration's frequent criticism of the group's treatment of Israel.
Haley repeatedly voted against U.N. measures that were critical of Israel, and she has rebuked the council for what she called a “chronic anti-Israel bias.”
The U.S., under former President George W. Bush, initially boycotted the council — established in 2006 — but rejoined in 2009 under former President Obama.
Haley has called for other reforms to the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying the group should make it easier to expel states with poor human rights records. She said the U.S. withdrawal came after the desired reforms were not fulfilled.
“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” she said, adding that the U.S. would be “happy” to rejoin the council if it is reformed.
The move comes as the Trump administration faces a backlash at home and abroad over its “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration that's led to migrant families being separated at the U.S-Mexico border.
The U.N. Human Rights Council recently called for an end to the policy, prompting more criticism from Haley.
"Once again, the United Nations shows its hypocrisy by calling out the United States while it ignores the reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council," she said.