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Nikki Haley blasts UN report on poverty in America

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A United Nations report criticizing the U.S. government on poverty in America is “misleading and politically motivated,” according to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, reported Fox News (US).

“It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America,” Haley wrote in letters to Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. “There is no question that poverty in America remains a serious concern, but it does no one any good to inaccurately describe its prevalence or its causes.”

Sanders and Warren were among 20 congressional Democrats who wrote Haley last week criticizing the Trump administration for the findings.

In December, Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, issued the report following visits to California, Alabama, Georgia, Puerto Rico, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Citing the Republican tax overhaul, Alston said his visit coincided “with a dramatic change of direction in US policies relating to inequality and extreme poverty.”

“Instead of realizing its founders’ admirable commitments, today’s United States has proved itself to be exceptional in far more problematic ways that are shockingly at odds with its immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights,” according to Alston’s report. “As a result, contrasts between private wealth and public squalor abound.”

Alston’s report cites high infant mortality, income inequality, incarceration and obesity rates.

“It is our sincerest hope that you will relay the findings of this UN report to President Trump and that this Administration will take action to reduce poverty and uphold our international human rights treaty obligations,” the congressional Democrats wrote.

In their letter to Haley, they also asked the administration to recognize health care as a human right, address inadequate access to banking services and improve internet and transportation access, especially in rural communities.

However, the U.N. report was based in part on Census Bureau data from 2016, before the Trump administration.

Haley also stressed that the current administration is tackling the issue by focusing on jobs.

“Poverty is an issue the Trump Administration takes very seriously,” Haley responded. However, she said, “While there are many dimensions to poverty, the Administration’s overarching view is that the best way to help people get out of poverty is to help them get a job. There is dignity in work, and being able to provide for one’s self and family is empowering, both economically and spiritually.”

Haley also noted Alston’s reports are not endorsed by the U.N. as a whole.


US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the US was right to ditch the UN Human Rights Council because Washington doesn’t need its opinion on how to govern itself, reported Russia Today.

“Getting off the council is an assertion of American determination to stick by its constitution and not to recognize that there is some higher authority at the UN, whether it’s the [Human Rights] Council or the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to judge our performance or to give us advice on how to implement the constitution,” Bolton said on Thursday. “We’re perfectly capable of doing that ourselves.”

Washington’s decision to leave the UN’s top human rights agency drew criticism from foreign partners, including some of America’s closest allies. Yet, speaking to the TV channel Fox News, Bolton confirmed that it was the right move, and the White House is fine in handling its own affairs, without an opinion from outside. “We don’t need advice by the UN or other international bodies on how to govern ourselves,” he reiterated.

Bolton, who was named national security adviser in President Donald Trump’s administration two months ago, reminded those listening that the United States opposed the creation of the Human Rights Council in the first place, and, when he served as envoy to the UN under George W. Bush, had voted against it.

The US announced the withdrawal from the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, with the current envoy to the UN Nikki Haley calling the council “protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias."

The news came right after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who supervises the council, blasted President Trump’s immigration policy. Bolton said the idea to ditch the council altogether “had nothing to do with that.” “This decision was made by President Trump weeks ago. It followed long-decision making and the review of the Human Rights Council’s performance,” he stated. “It reflects a widely-held view in the United States.”

World leaders from EU to China have condemned the US decision and praised the council’s role in promoting human rights across the globe. The Russian mission to the UN called the US criticism of the council “cynical,” saying: “The US apparently would like to turn the council into an obedient tool to promote its interests and punish objectionable countries.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hailed the US step to leave the council as “courageous.”

'Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry also expressed support for the US departure from the UNHRC, saying the agency “is in crisis,” and is riddled with “negative tendencies.”

The UN Human Rights Council was established in 2006. According to its founding resolution, its mission is to “promote and protect fundamental rights, and deal with major human rights offenders.”

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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