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US Scales Back Participation in UN Human Rights Commission

The United States has confirmed plans to scale back its participation in the United Nations Human Rights Council.

A State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says U.S. representatives will be much more selective in dealing with the Geneva-based council. He said the United States will engage the U.N. body only when matters of American national interest are involved.

The U.S. delegation is not a council member but has observer status on the 47-nation body.

The State Department spokesman noted growing U.S. skepticism about council activities noting that it focused on criticizing Israel instead of dealing with other human rights issues.

U.N. officials set up the council in 2006 to replace the organization's Human Rights Commission. They disbanded the commission after wide criticism by international human rights groups, complaining that member countries with poor rights records frequently joined forces to block effective action.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.