U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” worldview, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley described the council as “hypocritical and self-serving,” citing “bias against Israel” as one of the reasons for the decision to leave.
While the Australian government also shares many of the concerns held by the United States when it comes to anti-Israel bias, Bishop said Australia remains commitment to a “strong multilateral human rights system and to advancing human rights globally.”
“It is in our national interest to shape the work of the council and uphold the international rules-based order,” she said.
Although the move has shocked many political observers, the United States under Trump, has made a pattern of withdrawing from a number of multilateral arrangements.
Since 2017, the United States has left the Paris Climate Accord, tore up the Iran nuclear deal and walked away from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The news of the United States’ latest high profile exit in global diplomacy comes just 48 hours after UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein publicly criticized Washington for their own alleged abuses of human rights.
During the past six weeks it’s estimated that nearly 2,000 migrant children have been forcibly separated from their parents as part of the U.S. border protection policy.
“The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,” al-Hussein said.
Echoing the high commissioner, the American Association of Pediatrics described the border policy as “government-sanctioned child abuse” which may cause “irreparable harm” with “lifelong consequences.”
But despite bad blood between the United States and the UN, Haley did not fully close the door on the council, suggesting the United States would “be happy to rejoin” if the council moves to adopt a string of reforms she advocated for last year.
Director of the Australian Human Rights Institute Louise Chappell told Xinhua that it will be interesting to see if other nations try and move to bring the United States back into the fold or whether they just let them sit on the sidelines.
“Australia holds the position that it is more important to try and raise human rights standards from inside the council, rather than going it alone,” she explained.
“These institution exists to create accountability for everyone, so it’s very important that you have everyone involved in these discussions to hopefully shape and raise standards rather than just withdraw and leave it.”
“We join with our allies across the world in finding this a really disappointing outcome and I think that is the general view of human rights actors in Australia.”