Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Republican House to tackle UN reform

In an earlier post, I mentioned that House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) is hoping to kill the funding for the United Nations 'Human Rights Council.' But that's not all Ros-Lehtinen wants to do to the UN.

Let's go to the videotape.

Here's how the Republicans hope to reform the UN - or at least get the US to pay less of its bill.
One of the biggest reasons for the morass is also one of the most obvious. As Schaefer put it, “the bulk of the U.N. member states simply do not pay enough to the U.N. for waste, or corruption to trouble them.” The combined payments levied on 128 of 192 U.N. members “totals less than 1 percent of the regular budget and less than one-third of 1 percent of the peacekeeping budget,” he told the committee, even though they have enough votes to approve the budget and block U.S. attempts at reform.

So Byzantine has the U.N. become, in fact, that Schaefer says no-one in Washington really knows how much the U.S. spends on it. The U.N.’s biennial “regular” budget has more than doubled in the past decade from $2.49 billion to$$5.16 billion, Schaefer said, and the U.S. pays 22 percent of that.

But the peacekeeping budget has jumped higher and faster, from $1.7 billion in 2000-2001 to $7.2 billion in 2010-2011, and the U.S. pays 27 percent of that. Moreover, new missions could yet be added in Cote d’Ivoire or Somalia.

Then there are so-called “voluntary” funds where the U.S. contributions to a variety of sprawling U.N. funds, programs and agencies have also risen fast: according to sources cited by Schaefer, reaching $3.5 billion last year. (There are also independent funds, in such areas as climate change, that U.N. agencies also spend and manage.)

To combat the wasteful sprawl, Schaefer suggested that “Congress should not be shy in suggesting budget cuts.” Among other things, he proposed reinstating a long abandoned U.S. policy of pushing for “zero growth” for the U.N. regular budget, but also suggested pruning a variety of U.N. organizations, like a flock of U.N. regional economic commissions, that could be financed by their regional members.

Seemingly eternal U.N. mandated activities—there are more than 9,000 mandates in all—should also be chopped, he said.
Could that last line include UNRWA? Hmmm.

UN Watch's Hillel Neuer testified in front of the House Committee regarding the UN 'Human Rights' Council. This is from the first link again.
The same see-no-evil philosophy applies to the U.N.’s 47-member Human Rights Council, according to Hillel Neuer, head of a Geneva-based non-governmental watchdog, Human Rights Watch. With a handful of exceptions, he told the committee, “the council has systematically turned a blind eye to the world’s worst human rights violations. The council has failed the victims who are most in need of international attention.”

There have been no Human Rights Council resolutions against China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe, he declared, Nor has there been any against Iran “even as it massacred its own citizens while the council was in session.” Moreover, he testified, “no resolution has even been proposed regarding these gross violators.”

Israel, on the other hand, gets plenty of attention. In all, Neuer testified, the council has adopted 35 resolutions condemning alleged human rights abuses in Israel, and “a little over a dozen against the rest of the world combined.”

Some of the council’s special sessions have even been used to legitimize violations, he said. One example Neuer cited: a special session on Sri Lanka, after the alleged government massacre of 20,000 people, ended, he said, in a draft resolution that praised the Sri Lanka government for “promotion and protection of all human rights.”

The Human Rights Council’s favored experts also came in for scorn. One of them, Richard Falk, who has a permanent mandate to report on Israel’s alleged transgressions, is known as a 9/11 “denier” who has called for investigations of the U.S. governments role in the terrorist attacks. On the eve of the Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon suddenly declared that Falk’s 9/11 remarks were “preposterous,” and “an affront to the memory” of the victims.

The Human Rights Council’s record is supposed to be reviewed by U.N. members this year, on the fifth anniversary of its founding. Neuer’s judgment is already in. He told the committee, “according to the U.N.’s own standards, the promises of the council’s founding resolution—improved membership, action for victims, an end to politicization and selectivity—have not been kept.”
Read the whole thing.

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 8:28 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Richard Falk is so odious even the US's UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, demanded he be fired.

Fat chance of that happening.

But if the US is not going to leave the UN, its at least time to bring an end to business as usual with an organization dominated by dictatorships, kleptocracies and sponsors of terrorism. They enjoy condemning the West that foots most of the bill while they contribute next to nothing. A change in that respect would be welcome, indeed.


Post a Comment

<< Home