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US slams UN Human Rights Council over ‘bias against Israel’

Mark Toner
US State Department spokesperson, Mark Toner

The United States today boycotted the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s session on Israel, accusing the Geneva-based organisation of “long-standing bias against Israel”.

In an official statement, the US State Department’s acting spokesperson, Mark Toner, said that the US administration strongly opposes the UNHRC’s agenda item addressing the human rights violations in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.

“The United States strongly and unequivocally opposes the existence of the UN Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item Seven,” Toner said, noting: “Today’s actions in the council are yet another reminder of that body’s longstanding bias against Israel.”

He added that the efforts, which were said to have motivated the Trump administration to boycott the UNHRC’s session, threaten the council’s credibility. “No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the council. The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the council.”

The United States will vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item and is encouraging other countries to do the same

Toner’s remarks come after a UN rights expert issued a blistering criticism of Israel’s policies during the UNHRC’s session.

Item Seven on the UNHRC’s agenda was entitled “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”, was said to have included several anti-Israel declarations that the US fiercely objects to.

As a result, the US decided not to attend the discussion on that matter, claiming that it “does not serve the interests of the council to single out one country in an unbalanced matter.”

US President Donald Trump said earlier this month that he was considering pulling out of the council until it undergoes considerable reforms to an agenda which he described to have reflected an “obsession with Israel”.

The announcement was later opposed by various human rights groups that work with the council, including the American Jewish Committee, claiming that the US participation “mitigates” the anti-Israel bias.

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