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After Paris Climate Agreement, JCPOA, US Now Quits UN Rights Council

The United States has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council, a move which has been widely criticized by human rights activists and politicians around the globe
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers remarks to the press together with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announcing the withdrawal in Washington on June 19.US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers remarks to the press together with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announcing the withdrawal in Washington on June 19.
The US announcement comes after the council voted last month to probe the killing of scores of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and accused Israel of excessive use of force

The United States has withdrawn from the United Nations' top human rights body accusing it of "chronic bias", in a move that was deplored by human rights groups and described as regrettable by foreign leaders.

Washington's withdrawal is the latest US rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The decision to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council was announced on Tuesday by Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN.

In response to the withdrawal from the United Nations body which is designed to promote and protect human rights around the globe, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he would have "much preferred" for the US to remain.

In a statement issued by Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief said the Geneva-based Human Rights Council was a part of the UN's overall "Human Rights architecture", which "plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide," UN News reported.

"The Secretary-General would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council," said the statement on Tuesday night.

>Disappointing, Regrettable

Talking alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, Nikki Haley said, "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."

Minutes later, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, called the announcement by US President Donald Trump's administration "disappointing, if not really surprising."

"Given the state of human rights in today's world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back," he added.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the move "regrettable".

The US' announcement comes after the council voted last month to probe the killing of scores of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and accused Israel of excessive use of force.

Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, DC, said the US exit from the 47-member Geneva-based body "did not come as a shock", as it was something that Haley had talked about almost from the moment that she became the US ambassador to the UN in early 2017.

>Misguided Policy

Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Human Rights Program, said Trump's "misguided policy of isolationism only harms American interests."

Twelve rights and aid groups, including Human Rights First, Save the Children and CARE, had earlier warned Pompeo the US withdrawal would "make it more difficult to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world."

In May, the council voted to send a team of international investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli snipers in the Gaza Strip during weeks-long the Great March of Return rallies along the fence with Israel.

The US and Australia cast the only no votes at the time, while the Israeli ambassador in Geneva attacked the council for "spreading lies against Israel."

Speaking to Al Jazeera from New York, Louis Charbonneau, the UN director at Human Rights Watch, said, "Unfortunately the US is placing protecting Israel from criticism for its abuses over all else."

He added that despite some shortcomings, the Human Rights Council "has done some very good work, highlighting human rights abuses around the world, scrutinizing and bringing facts to light which enable us to holding these countries to account."

The US' move is unprecedented in the 12-year history of the council, as no country has ever dropped out voluntarily.

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