The United Nations Human Rights Council, charged with addressing human rights abuses around the world, has been accused by US government officials of “bashing” Israel, because the body has accused Israel of human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, says that the US will withdraw from its seat on the Council, and will only deal with the Council when matters of “deep national interest” are in question. Other human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have called the US withdrawal "an abandonment of human rights defenders and victims."
The Council was formed in 2006, as a replacement for the discredited Human Rghts Commission. 47 member states participate in the Human Rights Council, and meet in Geneva to discuss and address human rights abuses by countries around the world. The US has opposed the Council since its start.
Juliette de Rivero of Human Rights Watch said, "Washington's hands-off approach to the Human Rights Council undermined it from the start. It's ironic that the US shares responsibility for the shortcomings it's now using to justify its withdrawal from the council."
According to US officials, the withdrawal comes because the Council has chosen to address human rights abuses by the state of Israel, abuses which the United States and Israel deny – despite widespread evidence to the contrary.