Haley blasts rights groups for undermining US

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She charged the United States with "stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the existence of serious human rights problems at home while at the same time trying to shape the council under its own interests".

"Attempts to forcibly impose this rather specific understanding of human rights on other countries are, in themselves, a blatant violation of universal human values and civilized rules of conduct at the worldwide stage", the Russian diplomat added.

Finland believes the American decision to leave the United Nations Council on Human Rights is a "setback", as Finland had hoped the USA would remain part of the body.

He said the exit is about USA self-government, saying it's "an assertion of American determination to stick by its Constitution and not to recognize that there's some higher authority at the United Nations - whether it's the council or the high commissioner for human rights - to judge our performance or give us advice on how to implement the Constitution". "We believe that was a mistake, [just like] the United States approach to use its powerful resources exclusively to promote its own interests, although they can be used in the best interests", she said.

The United States is the first nation to voluntarily exit the council since its inception in 2006.

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President Borut Pahor of Slovenia - the home country of USA first lady Melania Trump - said the American withdrawal was "bad news" for the council, the United Nations, the US and "everybody" who cares about human rights.

Bolton, a former ambassador to the U.N. during President George W. Bush's administration, said that the United States is self-governing, and that it does not need the advice of the United Nations or other global bodies on how to do so. The United States has also quit the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO over accusations of anti-Israel bias. Other contentious moves have included slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum against key trading partners, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. "Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers and farmers who have done nothing wrong".

Washington withdrew on Tuesday, condemning the "hypocrisy" of council members and an alleged "unrelenting bias" against Israel. It added that the US criticism of the council for failing to make changes advocated by Washington appears "cynical". The U.S., as at other United Nations organizations, is Israel's biggest defender.

The Russian mission described the council as a "key global platform for co-operation in protecting human rights".

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