By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya
The US quit the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday (June 19) with rhetoric intended to assert the moral high-ground, slamming the council and selectively ‘naming and shaming’ council members outside its charmed circle of ‘friends.’ While the statements of US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington reeked of imperial arrogance, the irony of this grandstanding by one of the worst human rights offenders on the planet would not have been lost on many in the global South, who have been at the receiving end of its worst depredations over time.
Haley accused the council of being “a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.” The US’s own glaring lack of even-handedness in branding its detractors as ‘rights abusers’ while at the same time propping up its strategic allies militarily and economically, no matter how authoritarian or oppressive their conduct, may have escaped Haley. But not those in the majority world who have been forcibly ‘democratised’ by the US at the cost of their dignity and sovereignty, or have become targets of colonization one way or another, through US efforts to maintain global hegemony in the course of history. Even as the US envoy preached human rights, accusing others of ‘hypocrisy,’ her own government was implementing a harsh new immigrant policy of separating children from parents at the US border with Mexico, causing outrage within the US’s own rights community among others.