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June 22, 2018 12:54 pm

Report: Israel ‘Lowers’ Participation at UN Human Rights Council Following US Decision to Withdraw

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The UN Human Rights Council meets in Geneva. Photo: UN.

Diplomats at the UN in Geneva said on Friday that Israel had “lowered” its participation in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), three days after the US quit the body, The Associated Press reported.

Speaking to the agency’s reporters on condition of anonymity, the diplomats said that Israel had taken the decision in order to align its stance with that of the US. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley cited the continued presence of human rights abusers among the UNHRC’s members, along with the council’s in-built bias against Israel, as primary reasons for the American departure.

The diplomats in Geneva, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Israel had “lowered” its participation at the council to align its stance with that of the US.

Rolando Gomez, a spokesman for the UNHRC, confirmed to AP that Israel was not participating in the council plenary on Friday, where its seat sat empty. Israeli diplomats have not participated since a council discussion on Thursday on discrimination against women.

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Attempts by AP to obtain a comment on the matter from the Israeli Foreign Ministry were unsuccessful.

In her comments explaining the US withdrawal on Tuesday, Haley denounced the UNHRC as a “cesspool of political bias.”

“Unfree countries don’t want the council to be effective — a credible Human Rights Council poses a threat to them and so they oppose it,” the US ambassador charged.

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