Wednesday, March 30, 2011

United Nation Human Right Council

United Nations Human Rights Council
©2011 By David Talbot

What a strange world we live in, and nothing is more perplexing than the United Nations. A discussion of this body would take multiple volumes of books, many pages in length. So, I’ll confine my discussion to what’s bothering me today, and that’s the Human Rights Council (HRC).

The HRC was established by General Assembly Resolution 60/251 on April 3, 2006, as a replacement of the Commission on Human Rights. Among it’s charter duties were the following (for a full list see the UN Website):

“Decides that the Council shall be responsible for promoting universal
respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,
without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner;”

“Decides further that the work of the Council shall be guided by the
principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation, with a view to enhancing the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development;”

Both of these duties, as well as all of the Charter responsibilities, are admirable goals and statements in support of universal rights of citizens of all countries across the globe.

However, a quick review of the countries who are members of the Council, and thus responsible for carrying out the implementation of the charter of the HRC, reveals the hypocrisy of the UN and it’s institutions.

There are 47 member states on the Council, with staggered five year terms. Here is a partial list of the watchdogs of human rights on the Council:

Saudi Arabia

This week Libya was removed from the Council as a result of the situation on the ground there. No one wonders if their membership would have been revoked had the fighting not started a few weeks ago.

Do I need to review the human rights abuses of Angola, China, Cuba, and Uganda? Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are facing the same fate as Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen.

And here’s the last straw, as if the current make-up of the Council isn’t enough. The General Assembly is set to elect Syria to the seat vacated by Libya. Syria, who murdered 20,000 of it’s citizens just a few years ago who were demonstrating for their human rights. In the past few days, reports of the Syrian Army firing on civilians have been circulating.

The mood at the UN seems to be, “Who cares?” And, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, in comments aired on FOX News on March 30, 2011, stated that inlcuding these regimes, and meeting with them on HRC issues, has had a positive impact on their Human Rights records.

The approval of Syria to the HRC by the General Assembly seems to be a certainty. I guess that’s why Syria is shooting at it’s civilians now, so it can improve later.

Anyway, that’s my opinion, What’s yours?


David Talbot
Mesa, Arizona

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