June 19, 2018 / 10:03 PM / a year ago

U.N. rights boss says U.S. should be stepping up, not retreating

FILE PHOTO: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein of Jordan speaks during a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - The top United Nations human rights official voiced dismay on Tuesday at a U.S. decision to withdraw from the main rights forum, saying that Washington should step up its engagement given the number of violations worldwide.

The decision, announced earlier by U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley, was “disappointing, if not really surprising news”, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a tweet, adding: “Given the state of #human rights in today’s world, the U.S. should be stepping up, not stepping back”.

Zeid, in his final address to the 47-member forum on Monday, called on the Trump administration to end its “unconscionable” policy of separating children from undocumented migrant parents entering the United States at the border with Mexico.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by James Dalgleish

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