Christian advocacy group warns of consequences from US decision to withdraw from UNHRC

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addresses a United Nations General Assembly meeting ahead of a vote on a draft resolution that would deplore the use of excessive force by Israeli troops against Palestinian civilians at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., June 13, 2018.REUTERS/Mike Segar

Persecution watchdog Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has warned that the U.S. government's decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) could have a negative impact on the global effort to eradicate human rights abuses.

On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley officially announced that the U.S. is leaving the council due to 'its chronic bias against Israel' and due to the inclusion of accused human rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and Congo within its ranks.

'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,' Haley said, as reported by Daily Mail.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, CSW acknowledged that the UNHRC is 'not perfect,' but it is still the main platform to challenge human rights violations across the globe.

'The decision to refrain from engaging on human rights issues at the HRC is particularly regrettable to former allies, and to members of civil society that have historically worked alongside the US to address grave and systematic human rights abuses, including crimes against humanity. The withdrawal will neither prompt nor advance efforts to address the HRC's anomalies, but is likely to strengthen the hand of recalcitrant states,' said CSW's United Nations Officer Claire Denman.

CSW said that it will continue to work with the US State Department on issues related to religious freedom despite its disagreement with the decision to withdraw from UNHRC.

The US initially threatened to leave the council last year, claiming that the organization was biased against Israel and was ignoring human rights violations from other countries like Venezuela, Cuba, China, Burundi and Saudi Arabia. 

No nation has voluntarily withdrawn from the UNHRC in its 12-year history.  Haley suggested that the US could rejoin the HRC if it implements some reforms advocated by the US.

The Daily Mail reported that the current term of the US is set to expire next year, although it could have stayed within the council as a non-voting observer.

A US official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, reportedly said that the decision was a 'complete withdrawal' and that the US was vacating its seat at the council 'effective immediately.'