Dutch FM calls U.S. leaving Human Rights Council regrettable

Stef Blok (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)Stef Blok (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)

The United States decided to step out of the United Nations' Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs responded that he regrets the decision. Prime Minister Mark Rutte called it "unwise", the Telegraaf reports.

According to the Americans, the Council has turned into a protector for human rights violators, not human rights. "We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights", Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the UN, said in the announcement. 

In the past Haley repeatedly accused the Council of being biased against Israel, saying that the UNHRC treats Israel "worse than North Korea, Iran and Syria" and calling the council "foolish and unworthy of its name", according to the Mail and Guardian. The U.S. decision to leave the council happened shortly after the UN condemned America's immigration policy that resulted in children being separated from their parents at the border between Mexico and the United States.

In the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, Minister Blok said that he understands the criticism on the UNHRC, according to the Telegraaf. He said that statements made by the council are "often unbalanced" and that he is "disappointed in internal procedures and actions". Still he finds the American's decision to leave regrettable. Blok continues to believe in multilateral organizations. He chooses to work on reforms from inside the Human Rights Council.

The UNHRC consists of 47 countries of varying composition. The council works to promote compliance to human rights by all countries, and especially by countries on the council. Part of the U.S.'s criticism on the UNHRC is that a number of countries on the council - Cuba, China Venezuela, Iran and Congo - violate human rights, according to NOS. The Netherlands applied for membership of the council from 2020 to 2022.