The United Nations' self-styled “Human Rights” apparatus is under fire yet again after one of its “experts,” a Brazilian socialist, issued a report suggesting that efforts to control ballooning welfare spending in the United Kingdom were a supposed “human rights” violation. According to the UN, authorities in the U.K. must build more and better taxpayer-funded housing to comply with supposed “obligations” under so-called “international law.”
Top British officials, however, were not amused, lambasting the UN accusations as a “Marxist diatribe” and “utterly ridiculous.”
The controversial report was issued by Raquel Rolnik, a former “urban planning minister” with the Marxist-oriented Workers’ Party of Brazil. According to Rolnik’s sister, speaking with the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper, the UN “expert” was a “dabbler in witchcraft” who once “offered an animal sacrifice to Karl Marx.” Under the title of UN “Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this context,” Rolnik claimed the bloated UK welfare regime was not enough to satisfy the international outfit’s view of “human rights.”
The report is set to be discussed at the dictator-dominated UN “Human Rights Council” in March. Among other concerns highlighted in the document, Rolnik lamented that “the housing stock is no longer viewed as a public resource.” Pointing to a wide array of UN “international covenants” and “conventions” — including the highly controversial Convention on the Rights of the Child that the U.S. Senate has steadfastly refused to ratify — the UN “Special Rapporteur” said the British government was “required” to obey the planetary outfit’s demand for bigger and more intrusive government at all levels.
“According to the principle of progressive realization in the right to adequate housing, States are bound to provide an equal or better level of enjoyment of a particular right,” Rolnik wrote in the report. “This principle requires that States examine themselves against their own legislation and policies, including in times of austerity, and make every effort to ensure that available resources are distributed fairly.” The report was also filled with radical so-called “recommendations” purporting to order British officials to spend more taxpayer funds on UN-demanded welfare schemes.
One element that received a great deal of media attention was the UN demand that lawmakers undo recent reforms aimed at ensuring that welfare recipients live in appropriately sized government-provided housing. Sometimes misleadingly referred to as the “bedroom tax,” Rolnik said “the removal of the spare-room subsidy should be suspended immediately and be fully re-evaluated in light of the evidence of its negative impacts on the right to adequate housing and general well-being of many vulnerable individuals and households.” In other words, taxpayers must continue to supply extra bedrooms to welfare recipients at no cost.
Other “recommendations” in the UN report include extending and expanding taxpayer-funded grants and subsidies for so-called “social housing” — also known as government housing. “More resources and allocations are needed in this area to ensure that new developments address the specific needs of those individuals and households,” said the report, which misleadingly attempted to paint the UN as the ultimate defender of the poor even as its “peacekeeping” troops are accused of never-ending atrocities against the world’s poorest people.
In addition to demanding more government spending, the UN also called for more government control over what remains of the private-sector housing market. Rolnik called on British authorities to “increase regulation and enhance information and accountability in relation to the private rented sector; adopt regulatory tenancy protections, including minimum length of contracts, restraints on rent increases and strict limits on eviction.” Ironically, those exact policies, when implemented anywhere in the world — from New York to Stockholm — result in housing shortages and a wide range of other problems.
Even before the radical report was released, British officials and media outlets had been ridiculing Rolnik, calling her a “Brazil nut,” a "Loopy Brazilian Leftie,” and more. The chairman of the ruling Conservative Party even wrote a letter to UN boss Ban Ki-moon demanding an investigation and apology for Rolnik’s “disgraceful” comments and behavior. Other top political figures pointed out that the ruling Brazilian Worker’s Party to which Rolnik belongs rules over a nation where some 50 million people live in slum-like conditions.
When the dubious UN report finally emerged, it was promptly ridiculed by the press and the government. U.K. Housing Minister Kris Hopkins, for example, said the “partisan” document was “completely” discredited. “It is disappointing that the United Nations has allowed itself to be associated with a misleading Marxist diatribe,” Hopkins said, dismissing the findings. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, meanwhile, seized on factual errors in the “utterly ridiculous” report, saying it was “biased, poorly researched and contains inaccuracies the author refused to correct even when they were pointed out to her.”
Numerous experts pointed out that the UN has no authority to meddle in British affairs or to impose its radical vision of ever-greater government control over housing under the guise of “rights.” Still, that does not mean the document will not have an impact. “There is no world human rights police that will come in and assume control of UK housing policy,” so-called “human rights law expert” Professor Aoife Nolan, who supports the UN vision, told the U.K. Guardian. “But we will definitely see the report being used as an advocacy tool by groups seeking more effective protection of the right to adequate housing in the UK.”
Critics have long called for the UN and its discredited “human rights” regime to be abolished. In fact, the U.S. government actually stopped funneling taxpayer funds to the dictator-dominated “human rights” outfit until funding was restored by the Obama administration. As long as it exists, though, its time would probably be better spent investigating UN “Human Rights Council” member regimes such as the despots — and in some cases even mass murderers — ruling over Cuba, China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, the Congo, and more.
Instead, the UN human rights entity has been busy criticizing legitimate governments for not stripping their populations of enough money and freedom. Last year, for example, exposing its own ignorance and totalitarian agenda, a coalition of UN “human rights” luminaries called on the Obama administration to “nullify” state laws protecting the unalienable right to self-defense. More recently, the despot-dominated “human rights” outfit decided to investigate whether or not an NFL team’s name was a “human rights” violation.
Separately, the discredited UN “human rights” schemers were lashing out at Canadian authorities for maintaining relatively low taxes and for allegedly failing to provide enough welfare to satisfy UN demands. In Switzerland, citing the fact that many women still stay home to care for their children, the Swiss government came under UN pseudo-human rights attack for failing to mandate enough of what the outfit refers to as “gender equality.” Switzerland and Canada, of course, have among the strongest protections for real human rights in the world — not to mention being among the most prosperous nations in history.
With another gaggle of tyrants appointed to the UN Council last year, critics say it has become clear that the international outfit needs to be abolished. Among the ruthless dictatorships selected to sit on the body in November are those ruling over Cuba, China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and more. There were already plenty of despots on the discredited “human rights” outfit before that. In fact, the outfit was led by the Gadhafi regime in Libya prior to 2006 “reforms” aimed at trying to restore some credibility to the scheme.
None of the idiocy should be surprising. The UN notion of human rights itself is something of a cruel joke, as The New American has documented extensively. In its “Declaration of Human Rights,” for example, the UN states its abhorrent position that “rights” are "granted" by governments, not the Creator as explained in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The global entity also claims “rights” can be limited “by law,” and that no rights may be “exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”
It is past time for the U.S. Congress and legitimate governments around the world to ditch the UN Human Rights Council. In addition to legitimizing the terror and mass murder perpetrated by its member regimes, the international body makes a mockery of real human rights. There is no excuse for the Obama administration or any civilized nation to continue funding the disgraceful UN spectacle with taxpayer money.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at