US ambassador the UN Nikki Haley claimed the council is "not worthy of its name"

The US ambassador to the United Nations says the country's withdrawing from the UN's Human Rights Council.

Nikki Haley says the Council is "not worthy of its name" - while also claiming a chronic bias against Israel.

It's also taken exception to China, Cuba and Venezuela occupying seats, which have been accused of human rights violations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the UN is ignoring some of the world's worst human rights abuses.

"We have no doubt that there was once a noble vision for this council.

"But today we need to be honest: the Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights - with many of the world's worst human rights abuses going ignored, and and some of the world's most serious offenders sitting on the council itself".

The US is not immune to accusations of human rights abuses and the timing of the withdrawal is conspicuous.

On Monday, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein weighed in on the policy of separating child migrants from their parents and detaining them at the southern US border.

"The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced his regret at the decision and said he would "have much preferred" the US to stay.

"The UN's human rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide," he said.

The announcement makes good on past threats to leave the council, which is tasked with promoting and protecting human rights globally.