US sits out as rights body examine travel ban, Dakota access

WASHINGTON (AP) " The U.S. government skipped Tuesday's meeting of a regional human rights body that was examining the Trump administration's travel ban and its approval of the Dakota Access pipeline.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that it wouldn't have been appropriate for the U.S. to participate in the hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights since both the ban and the pipeline are being challenged in court. Toner said the U.S. had informed the IACHR of its decision in advance.

Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union, one of several organizations testifying, said that the U.S. government's decision not to participate reflected an "isolationist policy that mirrors the behavior of authoritarian regimes."

"This is another worrying sign that the Trump administration is not only launching an assault on human rights at home but is also trying to undermine international bodies," said Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program.

The commission is a branch of the Organization of American States and it includes 35 nations from the hemisphere.

Critics of the ban on travelers from six majority Muslim countries and the pipeline, which has drawn strong opposition from Native Americans and environmentalists, went ahead with their testimony.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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