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US announces withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

The United States on Tuesday announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, marking the latest departure of 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" demanded by the United States. 

Speaking at a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haley accused the council of being "a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias."

She described 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 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." 

The pullout 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. 

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