GENEVA (Reuters) - Slovenia's president on Wednesday regretted the U.S. decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, as Western countries began looking for a substitute for the coveted seat.
The United States withdrew from what it called the "hypocritical and self-serving" grouping on Tuesday over what it called chronic bias against Israel and a lack of reform, a move activists warned would make advancing human rights globally even more difficult.
"It is bad news, it is bad news for this Council, it is bad news I think for the United Nations. It is bad news, I think for the United States, it is bad news for everybody who (cares) for human rights," Slovenian President Borut Pahor told the 47-member state forum in Geneva.
His comments were echoed by delegates from the European Union, Australia and Britain.
"We have lost a member who has been at the forefront of liberty for generations. While we agree with the U.S. on the need for reform, our support for this Human Rights Council remains steadfast, and we will continue to advance the cause of reform from within its ranks," Britain's ambassador Julian Braithwaite said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alison Williams)