Nikki Haley threatens US withdrawal from UN human rights body

A day before embarking on her first trip to Israel as USA ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley demanded that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) address its bias against the Jewish state.

US ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley released a statement on the matter, saying that the country would only participate in order to vote against what she called "the outrageous, one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions" that the Council was putting forward.

The Geneva-based Council made up of 47 member countries is beginning a three-week session and Ms Haley said the U.S. "sees some areas for significant strengthening" in the group.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says the Venezuelan government is "destroying human rights and democracy", and President Nicolas Maduro is "turning that formerly prosperous democratic nation into a rusting dictatorship".

Those requirements include making membership on the council available only through competitive voting to keep "the worst human rights abusers from obtaining seats" and that the council immediately ends its practice of "wrongly singling out Israel for criticism".

She suggested that the USA should reconsider its contributions to the United Nations budget over the resolution.

Jorge Valero, the UN-Geneva ambassador for conflict-torn Venezuela replied that the United States had "no moral authority" to lecture on human rights.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikky Haley talks with Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon at an undated event.

In the meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, she said "If there's anything I have no patience for is bullies, and the United Nations was being such a bully to Israel, because they could".

However, following the warning, the council expressed concerns and fears over the USA withdrawing support leading to other nations steering the conversation, agenda and priorities of the organization.

"If Venezuela cannot, it should voluntarily step down from its seat on the Human Rights Council until it can get its own house in order".

The Council's critical stance of Israel has been a major sticking point for its ally the United States.

"I urge all members to support the participation of civil society in the Human Rights Council without reprisals".

The US State Department had in March "strongly and unequivocally" opposed the UNHCR adoption of Item Seven on its agenda describing it as "yet another reminder of that body's long-standing bias against Israel".

The Geneva director for Human Rights Watch, John Fisher, agreed that a reformed membership process would make the rights council stronger.

Countries are selected to the Human Rights Council by vote. Washington boycotted the human rights council for three years under President George W. Bush before rejoining under Barack Obama in 2009.

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