Trump Administration to Announce US Withdrawal From UN Human Rights Council

The UN human rights chief condemned the administration’s family separation policy just one day before.

Michael Brochstein/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Trump administration is expected to announce that the United States will withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council over what the administration has long viewed as the body’s anti-Israel bias. The announcement will reportedly happen Tuesday afternoon.

The move would follow through on last year’s threat by the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to leave if certain reforms were not adopted, including the expulsion of countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela from the council. In a speech from Geneva, Haley also insisted that it was “essential the council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it’s to have any credibility.”

In a June 2017 editorial for the Washington Post, in which she claimed the council was “whitewashing” brutality, Haley wrote:

The presence of multiple human rights-violating countries on the Human Rights Council has damaged both the reputation of the council and the cause of human rights. When the world’s preeminent human rights body is turned into a haven for dictators, the idea of international cooperation in support of human dignity is discredited. Cynicism grows. There is already more than enough cynicism to go around these days.

The timing of the announcement on Tuesday comes amid mounting outcry, both domestically and internationally, over the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration policy separating immigrant children from their families at the border. Just one day before, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s top human rights official, condemned the zero-tolerance policy as “unconscionable.” In the same speech, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also denounced countries such as North Korea and Venezuela for their human rights abuses.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend