Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attends the opening day of the 38th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, June 18, 2018. (Magali Girardin/Keystone via AP)

The Latest: UK's Boris Johnson defends UN human rights body

June 18, 2018 - 6:31 am

GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council (all times local):

12:20 a.m.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has defended the U.N.'s main human rights body, alluding to signs the U.S. may withdraw from it over its alleged bias against Israel.

Speaking to the Human Rights Council, Johnson nonetheless said that its dedicated agenda item on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories was "disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace."

Johnson said: "But I stress that that does not mean that we in the U.K. are blind to the value of this council."

Johnson said the council's work on the Israel-Palestinian conflict could have value under the right conditions.

Diplomats have told The Associated Press that a U.S. withdrawal from the 47-member council could come as early as Tuesday.

Johnson's address Monday focused on the need for education of women and girls worldwide as a way to promote human rights.

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10:10 a.m.

The U.N. human rights chief is urging the Trump administration to end new policies separating migrant children from their parents after entering the United States from Mexico, saying they've affected nearly 2,000 kids in the last six weeks.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein says it's "unconscionable" that any country would seek to deter parents from migrating "by inflicting such abuse on children."

He spoke at Monday's opening of a regular Human Rights Council session, his last before his term ends in August.

Zeid, a Jordanian prince, also decried concerns about countries including Syria, Myanmar, Hungary, Nicaragua, Israel, North Korea, and India- and Pakistan-controlled parts of Kashmir.

He denounced the lack of access provided by U.N. member states to rights investigators, noting China has accumulated 15 pending requests in the last five years.

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