Monday, November 22, 2010

The Recent Chastisement of America by the UN Human Rights Council

A little over two weeks ago, the United Nations Human Rights Council held a meeting of 47 member nations of said council to discuss pertinent issues.  Waiting in line overnight to secure first positions at the podium in order to excoriate the United States were such stalwart human rights abiding nations as Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela.  Russia, North Korea, and Nicaragua also were highly critical of the U.S. as were some of our supposed friends like France and the United Kingdom.

Their criticisms ranged from topics such as our discrimination against minorities and women, to the death penalty, and Guantanamo Bay detention of enemy combatants.

Under President Bush the United States refused to join the UN HRC so as to avoid giving corrupt and egregious abusing nations a platform by which to criticize America.  Indeed, Cuba is even a co-chair of the council despite longtime horrific human rights violations within their nation.  President Obama changed this and had America join the HRC so as to try and improve human rights from within the system rather than from criticizing from the periphery, so the administration has claimed.

According to former UN ambassador under President Bush, John Bolton stated, "“For the Obama administration, this is an exercise in self flagellation, which they seem to enjoy but it doesn’t prompt equivalent candor from the real rights abusers.”

A delegation of top officials, led by Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer, gave diplomats at the U.N. Human Rights Council a detailed account of U.S. human rights shortcomings and the Obama administration's efforts to redress them.   This included a 22 page report assembled to detail these issues.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a Cuban American who is likely to become chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that the rights council "is dominated by rogue regimes, including Cuba, which serves as vice-chair. So long as the inmates are allowed to run the asylum, the Human Rights Council will continue to stand in the way of justice, not promote it.  The U.S. should walk out of this rogues’ gallery and seek to build alternative forums that will actually focus on abuses and deny membership to abusers.”

Nicaragua's envoy, Carlos Robelo Raffone said on the podium that, "The United States of America, since its very origin, has used force indiscriminately as the central pillar of its policy of conquest and expansionism, causing death and destruction. We would like to forget the past . . . but unfortunately, the United States of America, which pretends to be the guardian of human rights in the world, questioning other countries, has been and continues to be the one which most systematically violates human rights."

Only Germany's envoy, Konrad Scharinger, stood for the United States and indeed scolded some of America's most strident critics. "We have noted with interest that some of the states which are on the first places of today's speakers list had spared no effort to be the first to speak on the U.S.  We would hope that those states will show the same level of commitment when it comes to improving their human rights record at home."
When our executive branch seemingly is even against our own country, I am thankful for Angela Merkel and our friends in Germany.  At least the whole world has not gone completely mad... yet.

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