US quits UN Human Rights Council - rightly so?

The United States has terminated its membership of the UN Human Rights Council. Washington has justified its decision by saying that the Council is prejudiced - especially against Israel. Some commentators criticise the decision as a further step towards American isolation, while others show understanding for the move.

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Gość Niedzielny (PL) /

Council permeated with leftist ideology

The US president is quite right to leave, Gość Niedzielny believes:

“This decision will not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed Donald Trump's speeches about the activities of certain UN organisations. The American president is convinced that they are either ineffective or permeated with left-wing ideology. Usually both. And it's difficult not to agree with him. The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is not lying when she says that the Human Rights Council protects states that chronically disregard human rights, that it is ideologically prejudiced and applies double standards: for example, it is constantly accusing Israel of disregarding the rights of the Palestinians, but sticks its head in the sand when it ought to condemn Hamas' terrorist attacks.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Isolation will hurt America

De Telegraaf sees Trump's leaving the UN Human Rights Council as an unwise move:

“This is the umpteenth time that Trump has humiliated an international organisation. He doesn't want any international trade agreements, he has quarrelled with the G7, and he doesn’t have a good word to say about the EU. It beggars belief, but Nato is already being tipped as the next organisation Trump wants to rid himself of, in line with his election promise: America first. Giving the Human Rights Council a shake-up is a noble proposal, but to withdraw from it without having an alternative isn’t so smart. By isolating itself and concentrating on one-to-one deals the United States may lose its influence in the world.”

Politiken (DK) /

Shirking responsibility

Instead of leaving the UN Human Rights Council, Trump should instead have tried to help make it better, Politiken writes regretfully:

“The UN Human Rights Council needs solid reforms that would strengthen its ability to ensure that people can live in freedom. The Council would of course also be well advised not to allow itself to be misused by authoritarian regimes seeking to direct attention to selected scapegoats in order to get themselves off the hook. Instead of turning its back on the world, the United States should demonstrate what human rights are all about. But Trump doesn’t seem to be concerned about that, either at home or abroad, where he readily meets with the very same authoritarian leaders whom he apparently won’t tolerate in the UN Human Rights Council.”

Pravda (SK) /

Calling the kettle black

The United States shouldn’t stick its neck out too far when it comes to human rights, Pravda notes:

“If the UN General Assembly in future really does want to ensure that only exemplary members sit on the Human Rights Council, that raises the question of a seat for the United States: a country that illegally separates children from their parents at its border, and builds an internment camp for them without having any specific plan for returning the children to their parents. A country whose leader refers to (non-white) foreigners as a 'plague'. And who in his first speech in his presidential campaign accused (non-white) foreigners of bringing 'rape, murder and drugs' into the country and only added as an aside that 'some of them are decent people'.”