The U.S. Just Did What No Country Has Ever Done Before by Dropping Out of the U.N. Human Rights Council

The Trump administration is known for making big moves. From the historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to agreeing to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, it seems President Donald Trump isn’t afraid to go where no country has gone so far. And now, that seems to include withdrawing from the U.N. human rights council — a move that is seriously turning heads.

As WGN9 notes, the U.S. is the first country to ever drop out of the council since its creation 12 years ago. Libya was involuntarily removed in 2011 due to its violence against anti-government protestors, however. Here’s what’s happening and why.

Trump’s administration is getting flak for separating migrant families at the border

Border Patrol Agents Detain Migrants Near US-Mexico Border

A police officer and a Border Patrol agent watch over a group of Central American asylum seekers before taking them into custody. | John Moore/Getty Images

Prior to the announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the human rights council, Trump’s administration was being harshly condemned for separating migrant families when they attempted to cross the border in the U.S. Mic reports the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Hussein, also stepped into the conversation. He called Trump’s separation policy “unconscionable” and echoed the idea that it was “government-sanctioned child abuse.”

MSNBC tweeted Hussein’s speech, where he also commented, “In the United States, I’m deeply concerned by recently adopted policies which punish children for their parents’ actions.”

Many think the ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy is inhumane

The administration’s new “zero-tolerance” immigration policy is what’s causing massive conflict between the White House and human rights activists. Mic notes that the Department of Homeland Security found the U.S. has separated “roughly 2,000 children from their parents at the border between April 19 and May 31.

Trump doesn’t think this new policy deters any migrants from attempting asylum, but Hussein believes others. He suggested this sort of act is performed on “nationalist agendas” by “self-serving, callous leaders.”

The Trump administration has always been critical of the U.N. human rights council

The U.N. used to have their Human Rights Commission — but that was replaced by the current council in 2006. And the Trump administration has never been a fan. Pacific Standard explains the administration views the council as a “pathological campaign” against Israel.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., spoke for the administration in front of the campaign in 2017. She condemned the council by saying, “For our part, the United States will not sit quietly while this body, supposedly dedicated to human rights, continues to damage the cause of human rights.”

Fox News also notes Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton opposed the council, too. Bolton served as the U.S. ambassador back when George W. Bush was president, and even then he didn’t think the new council should have been created.

U.S. ambassadors believe the U.N. allows abuses to fall through the cracks

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As noted, Nikki Haley has spoken out against the U.N. before — and she also pointed out other U.N. human rights council member countries that haven’t been doing what they need to. WGN9 explains Haley focused on Venezuela, Cuba, China, Burundi, and Saudi Arabia in her speech. She said they’ve failed to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights that the U.N. requires, while also stating that the council held an extreme bias against Israel.

The president’s ‘America First’ policy shows a history of stepping back from important issues

Stepping away from groups he doesn’t support isn’t new to Trump. Under the “America First” policy, the U.S. foreign policy that emphasizes nationalism, Trump’s administration has taken to backing away from international agreements that they feel may threaten the U.S. in some way, Fox News notes.

The Paris climate agreement was another notable accord Trump’s administration announced its withdrawal from in June 2017. They also took the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal and the U.N. educational and cultural organization.

Is the U.S. looking to advance Israel’s agenda?

It’s no secret the U.S. and Israel are close. And WGN9 explains removing America from the human rights council makes it seem as if the Trump administration hopes to advance Israel’s agenda. Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband and Donald Trump’s senior advisor, will also be visiting the Middle East the week of June 19 to discuss new plans that have yet to be unveiled.

As for how the U.S. and Israel became so chummy, experts disagree on how this came to be. Vox explains the two countries have been close since the Cold War, and they’ve both expressed mutual interest in fighting jihadism. America has also provided Israel with billions of dollars in aid over the years and sympathized with them more than with Palestine.

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