The United States on Tuesday announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, marking the latest departure by the Trump administration from an international institution.
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the council had failed to conduct the "major, dramatic and systematic changes" required by the United States.
"As we said we would do a year ago, if we did not see any progress, the United State is officially withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council," Haley said at a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
She accused the council of being "a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias."
She also criticized the council as a "hypocritical and self-serving organization," saying that it has rendered membership to unworthy nations and harbored "disproportionate focus and unending hostility towards Israel."
The exit marks the latest U.S. departure from multinational organizations and treaties after it pulled out of the Paris climate accord, the UN global compact on migration, the UN culture and education body UNESCO, as well as the Iran nuclear deal.
Shortly after the U.S. announcement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced his regret over the U.S. decision.
"The secretary-general would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council," Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief's spokesman, said in a note to correspondents. "The UN's Human Rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide."
Also, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein responded that the U.S. withdrawal from the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council is "disappointing, if not really surprising."
"Given the state of Human Rights in today's world, the U.S. should be stepping up, not stepping back," Zeid said on Twitter.
Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, said that the withdrawal is "a convergence" of "a longstanding antipathy toward the UN generally on the American right" and "Trump's view that international relations should be transactional and benefit the U.S."
"This is one more action that will have the long-term effect of isolating the U.S. from its allies and other nations," he told Xinhua. "I don't know that many in this administration care for international norms and rules in the first place."
The pullout also came as the Trump administration faces intense criticism for its recently introduced policy that separates children from parents who were arrested for illegally crossing from Mexico into the United States.
On Monday, the UN chief voiced opposition, saying that he believes that children must not be traumatized by being separated from their parents.
Zeid said he was deeply concerned about the U.S. policies that "punish children for their parents' actions," calling on Washington to immediately end the "unconscionable" practice of forcible separation of these children.