Nikki Haley Has New Beef With the UN—This Time Over Poverty in the U.S.:

Nikki Haley Has New Beef With the UN—This Time Over Poverty in the U.S.:

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley does not appear to be fond of the international organization.

Just two days after Haley announced the official withdrawal of the U.S. from the UN Human Rights Council, she issued another harsh rebuke of the organization at large.

Haley called a UN report on extreme poverty in the U.S. “misleading and politically motivated.” The report, released in May and presented to the Human Rights Council this week in Geneva, found that 40 million people across the country live in poverty, while 18.5 million live in extreme poverty, and an additional 5 million in conditions of absolute poverty. The special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, called the U.S. the most unequal country in the developed world.

Alston argued in the report that the policies pursued by the U.S. in the last year “seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege.”

Hitting back that the U.S. is “the wealthiest and freest country in the world,” Haley argued that the UN should focus its poverty alleviation efforts in countries like Burundi and the DRC instead.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Special Rapporteur used his platform to make misleading and politically motivated statements about American domestic policy issues,” Haley wrote. “Regrettably, his report is an all too common example of the misplaced priorities [of the UN].”

“It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America,” she continued. “In our country, the President, Members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, and City Council members actively engage on poverty issues everyday. Compare that to the many countries around the world, whose governments knowingly abuse human rights and cause pain and suffering.”

Haley’s response came in the form of a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had asked Haley to offer an explanation to the data cited in the UN report that highlighted rates of poverty in the U.S.

Philip Alston replied to Haley’s charges on Friday in a statement to the UN Human Rights Council, and on twitter.

Philip Alston@Alston_UNSR

Human rights promotion requires robust engagement, not behaving like the kid who takes his football and goes home.

Philip Alston@Alston_UNSR

The United States position, expressed by Ambassador Haley seems to be that this Council should do far more to hold certain states to account, but that it should exempt the United States and its key allies from such accountability.

Philip Alston@Alston_UNSR

My view is that when one of the world’s wealthiest countries does very little about the fact that 40 million of its citizens live in poverty, it is entirely appropriate for the reasons to be scrutinized.


June 22, 2018

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