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Top rights body: Trump no longer ‘moral leader of free world’

Council of Europe’s secretary general, a Nobel Committee member, cites US withdrawal from UN Human Right Council, separation of families at Mexico border

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican members of Congress on immigration in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican members of Congress on immigration in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US President Donald Trump is “no longer the moral leader of his country or the world,” the human rights watchdog the Council of Europe said Wednesday amid global outrage over the White House’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents.

“What is happening at the (US-Mexico) border where he (Trump) is separating children from their parents is a sign that he is no longer the moral leader of his country or the world,” the Council of Europe’s secretary general, Thorbjorn Jagland, told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

“Everything he does excludes him from the role American presidents have always had,” Jagland said during a trip to Moscow.

“He cannot speak on behalf of the so-called free world.”

The Council of Europe is a Strasbourg-based international human rights organization with 47 signatory states.

Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland presents President Barack Obama with the Nobel Prize medal and diploma during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Raadhuset Main Hall at Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Jagland is also one of the five members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee which annually awards the Nobel Peace Prize.

Some have suggested Trump ought to be awarded the prestigious prize for his denuclearization efforts on the Korean peninsula.

The Trump administration’s controversial policy of separating children from their undocumented parents, many of whom are fleeing violence in Central America, has triggered outrage and criticism from human rights groups across the globe.

On Wednesday the US leader signed an executive order to end the practice.

Jagland said the US withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council “was not unexpected.”

“This is just one more example which shows that he does not want to be part of international treaties or international cooperation-based organizations,” he said.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, announced the pullout Tuesday, calling the body “a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

Haley said the US had given the human rights body “opportunity after opportunity” to make changes. She criticized the council for “its chronic bias against Israel,” and also pointed out that it includes accused human rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and Congo.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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