UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – China, Britain and the European Union on Wednesday expressed regret over the decision by the United States to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council as Western countries began looking for an alternative to take the desired seat.
The United States pulled out of the council on Tuesday over what it called chronic prejudice against Israel and the absence of reform after a year of negotiations.
Washington’s withdrawal is the latest US rejection of multilateralism after its withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers in 2015.
“It’s bad news,” Slovenian President Borut Pahor said at a session of the 47-member council in Geneva. Bad news for this council and I think it is bad news for the United Nations and I think it is bad news for the United States, too bad news for everyone interested in human rights.”
He was supported by the representatives of the European Union, Australia and Britain.
“We have lost a member who has been at the forefront of freedom for generations,” British Ambassador Julian Prithwitt said. Although we agreed with the United States on the need for reform, our support for the Human Rights Council remains firm and we will continue to support reform from within the Council. ”
Diana Kostadinova, Bulgaria’s ambassador on behalf of the European Union, said the United States had been a “strong partner” for years in the talks and its decision “threatens to undermine the role of the United States as a strong advocate and supporter of democracy on the world stage”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed regret and was quoted by state media as a move that made Washington’s image as a defender of rights “on the brink of collapse.”
Two diplomats said New Zealand may be a good alternative to the US seat. New Zealand was carved aside to give the United States the chance to win the 2009 Human Rights Council elections. “There will be some consistency in a certain way,” one of them told Reuters.
The two diplomats said Canada and the Netherlands may be one alternative, although neither has yet advanced.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the US decision.
“It is a fraud, a lie and an attempt to deceive and deceive the people of the world,” said senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi.
Ashrawi accused the United States of “launching a planned attack on international law … in order to provide the necessary cover for Israel and ensure its impunity and protect the last colonial military occupation in the world.”