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( US urged to act upon its own human rights

Posted by: Biniam Tekle

Date: Tuesday, 06 June 2017

The Latest: US urged to act upon its own human rights

GENEVA (AP) - The Latest on the visit of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to Geneva and the U.N. Human Rights Council (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

A top civil liberties defender is urging the United States to "practice what it preaches" on human rights after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addressed the U.N.'s main human rights body.

The American Civil Liberties Union says in a statement that it's "hard to take Ambassador Haley seriously on U.S. support for human rights in light of Trump administration actions like the Muslim ban and immigration crackdowns."

The ACLU called on the U.S. to make human rights a priority at home, and then could it "begin to credibly demand the same of other countries abroad."

In a brief address earlier, Haley urged reform of the 47-member body, criticized its "chronic anti-Israel bias" and said "no human rights violator" should be allowed a seat.

She also indicated that the U.S. sees "areas for significant strengthening" of the council, and was "looking carefully" at whether it would still participate.

John Fisher of Human Rights Watch said the U.S. "only achieves its stated reforms by engaging, not by walking away."


12:40 p.m.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has decried the "rapidly deteriorating human rights situation" in Venezuela, and says its government should withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council if it can't address the problem.

Nikki Haley took about four minutes to deliver her highly-anticipated remarks to the council as it opened its three-week summer session on Tuesday.

Reiterating concerns voiced by officials of President Donald Trump's administration about the effectiveness of the 47-member body, she said the United States is "looking carefully at this council and our participation in it."

Haley also said it is "essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility."

She called on the council to adopt "the strongest possible resolutions on the critical human rights situations in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Belarus and Ukraine, and that it follow up to prevent further human rights violations and abuses in those countries."


10:35 a.m.

The U.N. human rights chief has decried over 2,000 years of Jewish suffering culminating in the "colossal crime" of the Holocaust.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein also says Palestinians today mark "a half-century of deep suffering under occupation imposed by military force."

Zeid, a Jordanian prince, acknowledged that some people would respond "that the experiences of the two peoples are not equivalent: How could I mention them in one breath?

"Indeed, I agree: The Holocaust was so monstrous and so mathematically planned and executed, it has no parallel, no modern equal."

He said ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian areas was essential for peace.

Most of Zeid's speech Tuesday to the Human Rights Council denounced a lack of access for his staffers and rights experts to countries to investigate alleged human rights violations.

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