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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks in the U.N. Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S., February 28, 2017. © 2017 Reuters

The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, wrote a letter to Human Rights Watch and 17 other human rights organizations blaming them, in part, for the US decision to leave the UN Human Rights Council. It contained numerous false and misleading allegations.

The following is Human Rights Watch’s response to the letter, attributable to Executive Director Kenneth Roth:

“Instead of scapegoating human rights organizations, the Trump administration should reflect on its own misguided strategy. That approach of blaming others for its own failures is what abusive leaders around the world routinely do. As the Trump administration mistreats immigrants at its southern border, it seems to be walking away from the international system to defend human rights. Nikki Haley famously threatened to take the names of those at the UN who didn’t support her, but we never expected her to include the names of independent rights groups.

“A true reform process for the UN Human Rights Council is underway in Geneva. Instead of joining that discussion, the US walked away from it, pursuing an elusive shortcut at the UN General Assembly where its initial soundings showed it had no prospect of building the necessary support but where the prospect of hostile states securing destructive ‘reforms’ could have undermined the Human Rights Council’s ability to function effectively. Human Rights Watch and many of our colleague organizations unapologetically wrote to the US and other governments to share this assessment. The Trump administration responded by theatrically leaving the Human Rights Council. Even in hindsight, we would send the same letter today, because it reflects the reality that the Trump administration would rather not face.”


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