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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

America abandons its principles

The Obama administration is seeking to join the World's most anti-Semitic club, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and American ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice announced on Tuesday, by running for a seat on the UN's 'Human Rights Council' (Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs). The Bush administration shunned the Council, which has criticized Israel more than the other 192 UN members combined, which is led by repressive regimes like Cuba, Libya and Iran, and which has totally ignored the genocide in Darfur. The election is to take place on May 15.
"Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy," Clinton said. "With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system to advance the vision of the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights."

Rice, a strong advocate for seeking a seat on the council, said the decision was made "because we believe that working from within, we can make the council a more effective forum to promote and protect human rights."

"We hope to work in partnership with many countries to achieve a more effective council," she said.
If human rights are an 'essential element of American global foreign policy, as Clinton claims, the Council seems to be the last place in the world to promote them. Among other things, the Council has banned criticism of Islam in its proceedings, has praised the human rights regime in Saudi Arabia (where women cannot go out in public without a male relative), is behind the Durban II conference, which will be an Israel-bashing fest to endorse the Durban I agenda (which led to 9/11 just a few days later). In the Jerusalem Post's words, the Council is "yet another forum in which the Arab world continues to make war against Israel."

And now the Obama administration has joined the World. I'm sure the American Left is pleased.

This is some of what then-UN ambassador John Bolton(pictured) said in explaining the American vote against the Council's creation, back in the days when the United States stuck to its principles.
To help the Member States move forward, he made a number of proposals to improve the body, as did the United States and other Member States. We appreciate UNGA President Jan Eliasson’s efforts to create an effective human rights body, as well as the efforts of Ambassador Kumalo and Ambassador Arias. Through their leadership, some of these goals were achieved with this text, and there are provisions that make improvements over the existing Commission on Human Rights. But on too many issues the current text is not sufficiently improved.

In focusing on the membership of the body, the United States was in excellent company. The Secretary-General had targeted this as the fundamental problem with the Commission, noting, “states have sought membership of the Commission not to strengthen human rights but to protect themselves against criticism or to criticize others.” We strongly agreed with the Secretary-General, and our preeminent concern was always about the credibility of the body’s membership.

The Secretary-General also proposed a strong tool to fix this - he proposed that the Council elect its members by a two-thirds majority. This proposal is not included in the resolution before us today, and it should be. The higher hurdle for membership would have made it harder for countries that are not demonstrably committed to human rights to win seats on the Council. It would have helped to prevent the election of countries that only seek to undermine the new body from within.

The United States also proposed an exclusionary criteria to keep gross abusers of human rights off the Council. This proposal would have excluded Member States against which measures are in effect under Chapter VII of the UN Charter related to human rights abuses or acts of terrorism. We also expressed a willingness to consider alternatives to satisfy the need for a strong mechanism to exclude the worst human rights violators.

Sadly, these suggestions were not included in the new text. The resolution before us merely requires Member States to “take into account” a candidate’s human rights record when voting. And the provision for the General Assembly to suspend an elected member of the Council requires a two-thirds vote, a standard higher than that for electing members.

Our position on the need for a strong, credible membership is one of principle, and one we know that others here today share. We extend our appreciation to those Member States that agreed with our assertion that there should be no place on the new Council for countries where there is objective evidence of systematic and gross violations of human rights, or where United Nations sanctions have been applied for human rights violations. Some Member States have signed letters and plan to make statements to this effect. Although these commitments could not ultimately change our position on this draft resolution, they represent a welcome and appropriate effort on behalf of many dedicated Member States.

We had a historic opportunity to create a primary human rights organ in the UN poised to help those most in need and offer a hand to governments to build what the Charter calls “fundamental freedoms.” The Council that is created will be our legacy. We must not let the victims of human rights abuses throughout the world think that UN Member States were willing to settle for “good enough”. We must not let history remember us as the architects of a Council that was a “compromise” and merely “the best we could do” rather than one that ensured doing “all we could do” to promote human rights.

Mr. President, absent stronger mechanisms for maintaining credible membership, the United States could not join consensus on this resolution. We did not have sufficient confidence in this text to be able to say that the HRC would be better than its predecessor.
Has anything changed since March 2006? No. If anything, it's only gotten worse.


At 9:25 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yep. Israel-bashing is the world's most popular sport after soccer. Every one is obsessed with the Jews, even moreso under Israel's new government.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, it's good that the US will be on this council, which right now is total shit, a council of criminal states pointing their fingers only at Israel to detract attention from themselves. I think with the US on the council, things will definitely change....We'll see how positively, but I'm sure most of the council members will no longer be welcome.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger Alpha3958 said...

The ironic thing is that Obama has just appointed Christopher Hill to be the new ambassador to Iraq. He is the man single-handedly responsible for the failed negotiations with North Korea, the worst abuser of human rights in the world. He sidelined Jay Lefkowitz, Special Ambassador for Human Rights, during the negotiations, and squandered any leverage the Americans had, ultimately allowing North Korea to become a fully weaponized nuclear concentration camp. And now Obama says he cares about human rights???


At 2:38 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


You are dreaming.

There's a reason John Bolton argued against joining the Council - and he was right. All the US will do is give the Jew haters credibility.


Ironic? No, it sounds consistent to me.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The US purpose may be to guide this council to make more gentlemanly slanders against Israel.


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