Nikki Haley Slams Human Rights Council as 'Greatest Failure' of the UN

Council 'has provided cover, not condemnation' for world's most brutal regimes

US Ambassador to the United Nation Nikki Haley
US Ambassador to the United Nation Nikki Haley / Getty Images
July 18, 2018

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Wednesday the United Nations' Human Rights Council is the "greatest failure" of the international organization given its continued support to dictatorial regimes and entrenched bias against Israel.

"The Human Rights Council has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world's most inhumane regimes," Haley said in remarks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

"It has been a bully pulpit for human rights violators. The Human Rights Council has been not a place of conscious, but a place of politics. It has focused its attention unfairly and relentlessly on Israel. Meanwhile, it has ignored the misery inflicted by regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and China."

Haley doubled down on the Trump administration's decision last month to withdraw the United States from the council amid what she viewed as a "chronic" anti-Israel bias that led to over 68 condemnations of the Jewish state over a 10-year period versus just six for Iran. She also accused the council of allowing notorious human rights abusers as members.

She cited the council's acceptance of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a member in October even as mass graves were being uncovered there, and its unwillingness to confront habitual human rights abuses in Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela.

She said American participation was the "last shred of credibility" the council had.

"It has taken the idea of human dignity—the idea that's at the center of our national creed and the birthright of every human being—and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics and that is a great tragedy," Haley said.

The U.S. withdrawal marked the first time since its establishment in 2006 that a member has voluntarily left the council. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, broadly condemned the decision as antithetical to American values.

Haley criticized the groups last month for opposing her efforts to rally UN support to reform the council.

Haley hit back at the organizations in a scathing letter condemning them for undermining her efforts to rally UN support to reform the council.