September 28, 2007

What is it about standing up for human rights that the United Nations finds so difficult?

An excellent read from Anne Bayefsky. An excerpt, from Geneva Conventions:

A year ago, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan dissolved the U.N. Commission on Human Rights under pressure, after the commission discredited itself repeatedly, even electing a Libyan chairman. Now its successor -- the U.N. Human Rights Council -- is proving itself to be worse than what it replaced.This week the council marked its first anniversary in Geneva, Switzerland, by adopting an agenda that is an affront to the civilized world. It deletes the job of investigating human rights violations in the brutal dictatorships of Belarus and Cuba and instead focuses its attention uniquely on Israel. It also serves notice through a new code of conduct that other human rights investigators will heretofore be on a short leash: A newly adopted Code of Conduct states that failure to exercise "restraint," "moderation" and "discretion" will be grounds for dismissal.

The U.N. General Assembly created the council without specifying membership criteria, such as, say, actually respecting human rights. The council now includes the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Less than half of its members, using the Freedom House's yardstick, are fully free democracies. And after a successful take-over bid of regional blocs within the council, the Organization of the Islamic Conference now dominates it.The result is a decimation of a human rights system created over decades, with a new intense focus on Israel. Israel has been the subject of three special sessions, has been singled out in 75% of the council's state-specific resolutions and will continue to be routinely condemned until council members decide "the occupation" is over -- an occupation many members believe began with Israel's creation.