The FINANCIAL -- The United States says it is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling it a “cesspool of political bias.”
According to RFE/RL, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said at the State Department on June 19 that the "hypocritical and self-serving" body "makes a mockery of human rights."
She lambasted the Geneva-based council for "its chronic bias against Israel" and lamented that its members include "persistent human rights offenders" like China.
Washington refused to join the council when it was first created in 2006 during the presidency of George W. Bush. His successor, Barack Obama, opted to join in 2009.
U.S. officials have long complained that the council focuses too much on Israel while ignoring rights violations in other countries, according to RFE/RL.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded the U.S. move as "courageous," while UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called it "disappointing, if not really surprising."
Russia's UN mission said the U.S. criticism of the council for failing to make changes advocated by Washington appears "cynical."