Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The idiocy of the UN Human Rights Council

The WSJ looks at what the UN Human Rights Council has had to say about Libya. Now that it's cool to condemn Libya, even the Human Rights Council is coming out against Gadhafi's leadership of his country. But just a couple of weeks ago, they issued its "universal periodic review" and all sorts of good things to say about Gadhafi's Libya.
The report notes that "a number of delegations commended [Libya] for the preparation and presentation of its national report, noting the broad consultation process with stake holders in the preparation phase. Several delegations also noted with appreciation the country's commitment to upholding human rights on the ground."

You'll be pleased to learn that the Gadhafi government offers a generous assessment of its own rights record. Cuba commended Gadhafi for "the progress it made in . . . primary education," and North Korea lauded Libya's "achievements in the protection of human rights." These were not surprise judgments.

But what to make of Australia, which "welcomed [Libya's] progress in human rights"; or Canada, which praised "the recent legislation that granted women married to foreigners the right to pass on their Libyan nationality to their children;" or Poland, which highlighted Libya's "achievements in recent years, including its efforts to combat corruption and trafficking."

The U.S., which joined the Council as a sign of the Obama Administration's good global citizenship, "supported [Libya's] increased engagement with the international community." At least the U.S. also "expressed concern about reports of the torture of prisoners" along with other rights violations. Similarly tepid statements of concern were offered by the Australians, Canadians and Poles. Too bad they couldn't muster the nerve of Switzerland, which tartly noted that Libyan "courts continued to pronounce death sentences and inflict corporal punishment, including whipping and amputation."

The Council will meet next month to consider the UPR, which is embarrassing enough given its timing and obsequious content. But the real embarrassment is that a human rights body with members like Libya and Cuba is taken seriously.
Anytime you hear someone intone about the necessity of involving the United Nations or express concern over the lack of love for the United States in the U.N., remember that this is the same organization whose ironically named Human Rights Council saw all sorts of progress and encouragement from Libya's "achievements" in human rights. What a joke!

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