Written by Uyen Le-Khuc

Last Tuesday, the US decided to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), mainly in protest of its frequent criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The country also accused the institution of being “a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias”, pointing fingers at ‘abusers’ like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Indonesia and Cuba. This resignation marks the US’s latest rejection of multilateral engagement, other than its pulling out from the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. While the withdrawal is worrying, it is not surprising; there has been perennial strain between the council and Washington: then-president George W. Bush refused to join in 2006, and the Obama administration had expressed frustration at the international body before. The departure of the US not only predicts its stepping down on human rights avocation, but also reflects an urgent call for the HRC to quickly mend internal relationship and reform, before another member decides to take leave.

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