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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Report: US considers quitting UN Human Rights Council

The Trump administration is considering pulling the United States out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a body that has been observed being biased against Israel and whose credibility has suffered for including genocidal governments, according to two sources in regular contact with former and current U.S. officials quoted by Politico.

No immediate withdrawal is expected ahead of the council’s Monday session. A final decision on membership in the council would likely involve Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, and of course the president himself.

A former State Department official briefed on the discussions said while the council’s targeting of Israel is likely part of the debate, there are also questions about its roster of members and doubts about its overall usefulness, Politico reported.

“There’s been a series of requests coming from the secretary of state’s office that suggests that he is questioning the value of the U.S. belonging to the Human Rights Council,” the former official said.

In a recent meeting with mid-level State Department officials, Tillerson expressed skepticism about the council, which has a number of powers, including the ability to establish panels that probe human rights abuses.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner did not address whether U.S. membership on the council was being reconsidered, but said, “Our delegation will be fully involved in the work of the HRC session which starts Monday.”