In keeping with an accelerating trend of seeking to dictate U.S. and state policy, self-styled “human rights” officials at the dictator-dominated United Nations blasted the United States — and Oklahoma in particular — for allegedly violating what the UN calls “international law.” Responding to what has been described as the “botched” execution of convicted rapist and murderer Clayton Lockett this week, the international outfit’s “human rights office” called on authorities across America to end the death penalty.
It took 43 minutes for the death-row inmate to die of a heart attack. According to the UN “High Commissioner” for “human rights,” Lockett’s alleged suffering following the April 29 lethal injection could be classified as “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” under “international human rights law.” It was not clear where the UN thought it derived the authority to create or impose any sort of “law” on its member governments, or what specific treaty the outfit believes was violated.
Following another recent UN “human rights” diatribe attacking the U.S. Constitution, gun rights, spankings, deportations of criminals, and the death penalty, the UN reiterated the international organization’s view that executions should be halted. In a bizarre twist for an outfit that appears to specialize in attacking the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights, however, a UN spokesman also claimed Lockett’s execution was a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.
It was perhaps the first time that the UN has claimed to be concerned with the constitutional rights of Americans. However, it was unclear whether the “human rights” bureaucrats had considered the rights of Lockett’s victim, 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman, who had graduated from high school two weeks earlier. After forcing Neiman to watch her friend being gang raped, Lockett, who had kidnapped the young woman, proceeded to beat her. Then he shot her with a shotgun, twice. She survived, so Lockett ordered his accomplices to bury her alive.
In 2000, a jury convicted Lockett of murder, rape, forcible sodomy, kidnapping, assault and battery, and burglary. Neiman’s parents asked jurors to give the man who murdered their only child the death penalty. Bobby Bornt, who was also kidnapped with Neiman, along with a 9-month-old baby, said in a letter that lethal injection “is almost too easy of a way to die after what he did to us.” Even Lockett’s mother publicly said her son deserved to die for the crimes he confessed to.
The UN disagreed. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN “human rights” office, claimed Lockett’s execution was “the second case of apparent extreme suffering caused by malfunctioning lethal injections” that has been reported in the United States this year. The other was in Ohio during the January execution of Dennis McGuire, convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering 22-year-old Joy Stewart, who was 30 weeks pregnant. Her unborn child also died.
The UN spokesman told reporters in Geneva that “the apparent cruelty involved in these recent executions simply reinforces the argument that authorities across the United States should impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty and work for abolition of this cruel and inhuman practice.” It was the second time in less than a month that the international outfit, widely lambasted as the “dictators club,” lashed out at American states’ policies it considers “human rights” violations.
Following domestic controversy over the execution method, state officials in Oklahoma and Ohio had already taken action before the UN inappropriately injected itself into American affairs. On Thursday, Oklahoma Department of Corrections chief Robert Patton ordered a review of the state’s execution procedures and called for indefinitely postponing another death sentence that was also scheduled to be carried out on April 29.
Despite its name, the UN Human Rights Council, which recently selected some of the most ruthless communist and Islamist dictatorships for membership, has a very different view on rights than Americans. Under the UN’s bizarre pseudo-“human rights,” for example, “rights” are granted by governments and can be restricted or abolished at will — and may in “no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” according to Article 29 of the UN “Declaration of Human Rights.”
Despite the fact that its dangerous notion of government-granted privileges is inherently at odds with the God-given rights secured by the U.S. Constitution, the discredited UN body has radically stepped up its attacks on American freedom in recent years. It has also become increasingly brazen in its calls for infringing upon constitutionally protected rights and state sovereignty.
Meanwhile, the UN bureaucrats have further discredited themselves by attacking Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and other civilized nations for alleged “human rights” abuses as well — too many women at home caring for their children, for example, or not enough welfare, low taxes, and more. In one of the more absurd examples from this year, the UN also questioned whether the name of a U.S. football team was a “human rights” violation.
Under America’s system of constitutional self-government, the people of each state make laws through their elected representatives. Regardless of one’s opinion on the death penalty — currently allowed in over 30 states — or on the appropriateness of different methods, the UN and its largely dictatorial roster of member regimes have no business meddling in the affairs of the American people. In fact, critics of the UN say a U.S. government withdrawal from the dictators club is long overdue.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at