Thor Halvorssen, in his own words

Thor Halvorssen writes about the Cuban hissy-fit at the UN Human Rights Council:

Last Thursday, I was on the schedule to deliver testimony at the United Nations Human Rights Council. I was invited to be part of UN Watch’s campaign to stop Hugo Chavez’s bid to elect Venezuela to a seat on the council this November.

NGOs are allotted several minutes to say their peace and contribute to the debate about rights. I sat down to deliver my speech and no sooner had I mentioned the word “Cuba” in the context of human rights violations than the Cuban delegation began to create a scene, complete with banging their fists on the table and kicking over a chair, to force the council president to interrupt my speech on a point of order.


At this point the Cuban representatives of the 53-year Castro family dynasty began their kinetic table-banging. They asked that my words be struck from the official UN record. A debate ensued between Cuba, China, and the U.S. as to whether to include my remarks. I was given the floor back by the council’s president so that I could “finish” my statement and I was able to get this line out:

“Madam President, this year, four authoritarian governments — China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Russia — will step down. You have a golden opportunity…”

It was as if a crime had been committed. Cuba, Russia, China, and Pakistan all loudly protested. The council’s president immediately cut me off. Cuba stated it would not permit such language in the council. Russia aligned itself with Cuba and stated that the human rights council had its own agenda. Russia accused me of violating procedure. China went further and demanded that I be prohibited from continuing with my presentation as it was out of the scope of what I was “permitted” to say. In other words, mentioning human rights violators like Cuba or China (the only country with an imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate), at the human rights council, in the time allotted to an NGO focused on human rights, is considered an unseemly deviation from the agenda.

I went to Geneva to leave testimony, for posterity given the demonstrable inefficacy of this august UN body, but I didn’t expect that the dictatorships represented in the room would behave like a perfectly choreographed set of villains, as one would expect a dictatorship to behave. I was unable to finish but I didn’t have to — they proved my point. […]

They always show who they are, regardless of whether their commies, socialists, liberals, or “progressives.”

Speaking of “progressives,” I read this last night and though I’d share it. It is a perfect description:

”Liberalism has nothing to do with liberty. The correct appellation is ‘progressive’: progressively more government control and progressively less freedom.”



You can see Thor Halvorssen’s UNHRC exchange (with Cuba’s objections) in the video here.