The United States warned on Tuesday that it is reviewing its participation in the UN Human Rights Council.
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, issued the warning as she addressed a new three-week session of the forum in Geneva.
US concerns include the human rights record of members like China and Venezuela and what it deems anti-Israel bias.
“Being a member of this council is a privilege and no country who is a human rights violator should be allowed a seat at the table,” Haley told the Council.
“Finally, it’s hard to accept that this council has never considered a resolution on Venezuela, and yet it adopted five biased resolutions in March against a single country, Israel. It is essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility.”
— Department of State (@StateDept) 6 juin 2017
The council’s criticism of Israel has long posed problems for the US, the country’s main ally.
The 47-member body has taken a strong position against Israel’s occupation of territory seized in the 1967 Middle East war, its treatment of Palestinians, and its building of Jewish settlements. Most countries consider the settlements, in areas the Palestinians envisage as part of an eventual independent state, illegal.
Washington says the Council is stacked with opponents of Israel and boycotted it for three years under President George W. Bush before rejoining under Barack Obama in 2009.
Haley called for the council to adopt strong resolutions on abuses in Syria, Eritrea, Belarus, Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of Congo at its session.
Some activists however urged Washington to focus on abuses at home.
“It’s hard to take Ambassador Haley seriously on US support for human rights in light of Trump administration actions like the Muslim ban and immigration crackdowns,” Jamil Dakwar, director of the human rights programme at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told Reuters.
“The United States must get its own house in order and make human rights at home a priority – then, it can begin to credibly demand the same of other countries abroad.”