Trump Pulls US Out Of UN Human Rights Agency

UNESCO’s mission statement: “Contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.”

The Associated Press reports:

U.S. officials have told the Associated Press that the United States is pulling out of UNESCO, after repeated criticism of resolutions by the U.N. cultural agency that the Trump administration sees as anti-Israel.

The U.S. stopped funding UNESCO after the agency voted to include the Palestinian Authority as a member in 2011, but the State Department has maintained a UNESCO office at the agency’s Paris headquarters and sought to weigh in on policy behind the scenes.

The withdrawal was confirmed Thursday by U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to be publicly named discussing the decision. It comes as UNESCO is voting to choose a new director. Senior American officials, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, have issued repeated denunciations of UNESCO.

UNESCO director Irina Bokova reacts:

After receiving official notification by the United States Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, as UNESCO Director-General, I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO.

Universality is critical to UNESCO’s mission to strengthen international peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity.

In 2011, when payment of membership contributions was suspended at the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, I said I was convinced UNESCO had never mattered as much for the United States, or the United States for UNESCO.

This is all the more true today, when the rise of violent extremism and terrorism calls for new long-term responses for peace and security, to counter racism and antisemitism, to fight ignorance and discrimination.

I believe UNESCO’s work to advance literacy and quality education is shared by the American people. I believe UNESCO’s action to harness new technologies to enhance learning is shared by the American people.

I believe UNESCO’s action to enhance scientific cooperation, for ocean sustainability, is shared by the American people. I believe UNESCO’s action to promote freedom of expression, to defend the safety of journalists, is shared by the American people.