Trump administration threatens to leave UN Human Rights Council

The Trump administration is reviewing membership in the UN Human Rights Council, and "considerable reform" within the organization would be necessary for the U.S. to remain, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"We may not share a common view on this, given the makeup of the membership", Tillerson wrote. The Human Rights Council and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are the two organizations are under the most intense scrutiny by Trump administration officials over their treatment of Israel.

The nine groups, which include the AJC-affiliated Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human rights, wrote a letter last month to Tillerson arguing that the USA can better protect Israel from disproportionate criticism if it remains a member, according to Foreign Policy. "We're not taking withdrawal off the table".

Foreign Policy noted Tillerson was responding to a February 9 letter from the nine groups including the Better World Campaign and Freedom House, among others.

In 2006 then US President George W. Bush refused to join the council over concerns at how it treated Israel but Obama overturned this decision in 2009.

The collection argued the USA could better help Israel by remaining on the council and added the organization has helped hold the world's worst human rights abusers accountable.

The Trump administration is threatening to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, citing among other things the intergovernmental body's "biased agenda against Israel".

The U.S. spends about $10 billion annually on the United Nations, and the cuts could have the greatest impact on peacekeeping, the United Nations development program and UNICEF, which are funded by State's Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

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