As predicted, the new Human Rights Council, supposedly the flagship of Kofi Annan’s promised U.N. reform is not as bad as the previous council. It’s worse; a lot worse, even human rights groups that backed the formation of the council are appalled. So far, the new council is nothing more than a diplomatic lynch mob directed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and supported by dictatorships like Cuba and China.
A MAJOR piece of the United Nations reform promised by Secretary General Kofi Annan was a new Human Rights Council. The idea was to replace the Commission on Human Rights, which had been hijacked by rogue states such as Libya and Sudan, with a body that could refocus attention on serious human rights violations around the world — and in so doing remove what Mr. Annan said was “the shadow” cast by the old organization on “the United Nations system as a whole.”
When the Human Rights Council was approved by the General Assembly in March, we were among the skeptics who doubted that it would be much of a change, mainly because the membership rules still allowed for the election of human rights violators. As it turned out, we were wrong: The council, which completed its second formal session last week in Geneva, has turned out to be far worse than its predecessor — not just a “shadow” but a travesty that the United Nations can ill afford.
For all its faults, the previous U.N. commission occasionally discussed and condemned the regimes most responsible for human rights crimes, such as those in Belarus and Burma. China used to feel compelled to burnish its record before the annual meeting. The new council, in contrast, has so far taken action on only one country, which has dominated the debate at both of its regular meetings and been the sole subject of two extraordinary sessions: Israel.
Western human rights groups sought to focus the council’s attention on Darfur, where genocide is occurring, and on Uzbekistan, where a dictator refuses to allow the investigation of a massacre by his security forces. Their efforts have been in vain. Instead, the council has treated itself to report after report on the alleged crimes of the Jewish state; in all, there were six official “rapporteurs” on that subject in the latest session alone. One, Jean Ziegler, is supposed to report on “the right to food.” But he, too, delivered a diatribe on Israeli “crimes” in Lebanon.
Cuba’s participation in the council all but guarantees its failure. The hand of castro’s regime spoils everything it touches.
Read the Washinton Post story here.