"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Monday, October 01, 2007

Failures of the UN Human Rights Council

From Anne Bayefsky at National Review Online:

"When the Council was first created a new “universal periodic review” (UPR) mechanism — to permit the examination of human rights in every state starting with current members — was touted as a serious part of its duties. Only real human-rights promoters would want to withstand the heat of three-hour conversations once every five years and so it would act as an incentive to keep the bad guys off. At this Council session they agreed on a timetable to conduct reviews. Guess what? Israel — with a snowball’s chance in hell of ever being on the Council — was among the first to be reviewed. Current members and human-rights enthusiasts Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Russia, and Azerbaijan come later. Iran is three years away. And Syria, Sudan, and Zimbabwe are in 2011. If they play their cards right, they can run for office in 2008 and rotate off the Council before the review even gets around to them.

Resolutions adopted Friday included stalwarts from the Council’s discredited predecessor, the Human Rights Commission — “human rights and international solidarity” and “human rights and unilateral coercive measures” — the usual nonsense aimed straight at the West and all values democratic.

There was a dandy resolution on the Durban II racism conference — the newest U.N. forum for anti-semites from around the world being planned for 2009. The resolution calls for the Libyan Chair of the Preparatory Committee to come to
New York to present a report in person to the General Assembly. (Distributing the written report is not good enough.) The cost of the visit? $8,400 according to the Secretariat — for a 15-30 minute presentation. In case you were wondering, American taxpayers will pay 22 percent of those costs.

Then there were lots of resolutions on racism — all designed to bring hysterical accusations of Islamophobia and dastardly cartoons to the fore. In line with the sponsors’ genuine concern for religious discrimination,
Pakistan objected to “Jewish holidays” being used as a pretext for violating the human rights of Palestinians.

At the insistence of the OIC, a new clause has become de rigueur for the mandate of every investigator on every human rights subject, country-oriented or thematic. The provision imposes a code of conduct which threatens to seriously interfere with their independence,

My personal favorite was the Egyptian-led resolution, entitled “From rhetoric to reality: a global call for concrete action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” Adopted over the negative votes of all Western and Eastern European democracies, who are totally outnumbered in the Council, it

decides that the future agenda of the Intergovernmental Working Group will focus on the following paramount issues…re-aligning the work and name of the Anti-Discrimination Unit in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights…and that, henceforth, this Unit shall be known as “The Anti-Racial Discrimination Unit,” and that its operational activities shall focus exclusively on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as defined in…the Durban Declaration.

In other words, for anybody who has any idea of talking about anything but Islamophobia, you’re days are numbered.

In the meantime, the day-to-day camaraderie of the UN Human Rights Council proved a comfortable place to express the following sentiments:

Egypt: “…the offensive publication of portraits of the Prophet Mohamed…has highlighted the damage that freedom of speech if left unchecked may lead to, not only hurting the religious feelings of more than a billion people, but also their freedom of religion and their right for respect of their religion.”

Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC: “…terrorist acts carried out by non-state actors, in the name of religion, should be de-linked from religion to ensure freedom of religion for the peaceful followers of that faith.”

Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC: “The international community must address the root causes of terrorism, such as the situations of grave injustice and repression involving Muslims, and conditions of poverty and lack of opportunity, which fuel extremism and terrorism.”

Syria: “Freedom of opinion had been utilized to humiliate Islam and to cause hatred and instigate violence.”

Bangladesh: “…freedom of expression…cannot be absolute nor infinite. It must be exercised with respect and responsibility…”

Iran: “…the right to freedom of expression is not absolute.”

Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC: “Islamophobia is also a crude form of anti-Semitism.”

Algeria: “…there is an upswing in anti-Semitism that now targets Arabs… and Muslims.”"

"Our Dead Are Our Fault"

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