On June 19, the US announced its decision to leave the Council. Senior US officials accused the Council of displaying entrenched bias against Israel, and criticized what they said was the body's willingness to admit nations which were themselves human rights abusers.
Iceland inherits no particular responsibilities from the US, raising questions about future action on key human rights issues promoted specifically by Washington, such as Sudan, South Sudan and the right to freedom of expression.
In a statement issued by UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he would have "much preferred" the US remain and that the 47-member intergovernmental body was a part of the UN's overall "human rights architecture, which "plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.
The Human Rights Council's next scheduled meeting is in September.
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