USA warns UN Human Rights Council: Either reform, or we leave

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has sent frustration coursing anew through the diplomatic press corps this week by handpicking a single digital news reporter to travel with him to Asia after refusing to allow anyone from major news outlets that regularly cover the State Department a seat on his airplane.

"While it may be the only such organization devoted to human rights, the Human Rights Council requires considerable reform in order for us to continue to participate", he wrote in a letter to nine nonprofit organizations this week, according to Foreign Policy.

Multiple State Department aides told Foreign Policy that USA withdrawal from the council is not imminent but remains a real possibility.

"Our aim is to fix the organization", a Tillerson aide told FP.

The new United States administration will seek to renew the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and ensure that rapporteurs for North Korea, Iran and Myanmar continue their work, he said in the letter dated Mar 8. "We could not accommodate press", Toner told reporters. The Council has a small window of time to changes it ways.




In January he was reportedly preparing to sign an executive order which would reduce USA funding of the United Nations by 40 per cent, as well as repeal certain multilateral treaties and scrap the landmark Paris climate change agreement. The US spends about $10 billion annually on the world body.

Former President George W Bush refused to join the council in 2006 due to its treatment of Israel, but the decision was reversed by President Barack Obama in 2009, who said it would be better to have a seat at the table.

Israel and its supporters have accused the Human Rights Council of disproportionately targeting the Jewish state with criticism while overlooking abuses by other countries. It replaced the UN Human Rights Commission, which was facing severe criticism because countries with poor rights records became members and blocked its mission.

When Rex Tillerson was sworn in as US Secretary of State, his boss Donald Trump said he would bring a "clear-eyed focus to foreign affairs". "It must be said that the HRC's obsession with Israel risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization".

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