A motley assortment of the planet’s most ruthless Islamist and communist autocracies were appointed on November 12 to sit on the increasingly discredited United Nations “Human Rights” Council (UN HRC), drawing swift condemnation and ridicule from around the world. The week before, the mass-murdering dictatorship ruling over mainland China had its “education vice-minister” elected to lead the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), adding more fuel to the fire for critics who advocate an immediate American withdrawal from the scandal-plagued planetary outfits.
Among the mass-murdering regimes selected to sit on the UN’s self-styled “human rights” entity were the brutal communist dictatorships enslaving the people of China, Cuba, and Vietnam, along with the hardline Islamic tyrants ruling over Algeria and Saudi Arabia. Of course, numerous critics have pointed out that those are some of the most repressive tyrannies on earth. Vladimir Putin’s Russian government, widely criticized as a gangster regime, was also chosen to sit on the global body supposedly charged with upholding “human rights” around the world. Other brutal autocrats were already on the council prior to the most recent additions.
There were a number of other controversial selections this week for three-year terms on the disgraced UN “human rights” outfit as well: the radical South African government, for example, which has been implicated in genocidal machinations by the world’s top expert on genocide, along with the socialist regime in Namibia. Rulers from Morocco and Macedonia were also appointed. Finally, among the least controversial of the 14 new selections for the council were the governments of France and the United Kingdom.
As the dubious UN institution cements its status as a planetary laughing stock by adding even more of the world’s worst human-rights abusers to its leadership, more than a few analysts and human rights activists were left scratching their heads. However, when considering the composition of the 193-member UN General Assembly, the vote to add the planet’s leading communist and Islamist autocracies to an entity in charge of human rights — as defined by the UN: revocable privileges — makes perfect sense. There is a reason that the UN is regularly blasted by critics as the “dictators' club,” and the recent vote illustrated that perfectly.
Still, outrage was being expressed around the world. “This is a black day for human rights,” noted Executive Director Hillel Neuer with the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group that monitors the global body and its activities. “Today the UN sent a message that politics trumps human rights, and it let down millions of victims worldwide who look to the world body for protection.”
As UN Watch pointed out, the election not only casts a “dark shadow” on the future of the Human Rights Council, it also brought back the specter of the body’s recent past. Indeed, the council was actually created in 2006 to replace the thoroughly discredited and “morally corrupt” UN Commission on Human Rights — once led by the Gadhafi regime in Libya, and criticized even by top UN bosses such as Kofi Annan. It appears, however, that little has changed.
“Despite the much-vaunted 2006 reform — which scrapped the discredited human rights commission and created a new and supposedly improved council — today’s election of the world’s worst human rights abusers means that we are back to square one,” continued Neuer in a statement about this week’s appointments. “Instead of reform, we have regression.” In all, the group said, only four of the 16 candidates for the council had human rights records that would qualify them for seats.
The UN Watch chief expects, among other looming problems, that the UN rights body will continue to ignore “egregious abuses” by authorities everywhere from China, Zimbabwe and Cuba to Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. On top of that, Neuer added that he foresees the principles of individual human rights being subverted by “concepts that increase power for governments.”
Of course, as The New American has documented extensively, the UN’s vision of “human rights” is entirely at odds with traditional U.S. notions of unalienable, God-given individual rights secured by the Constitution. As explained in its “Declaration of Human Rights,” for example, the UN believes “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” — essentially redefining rights as revocable, government-granted privileges that can be curtailed or abolished merely with pretended acts of “law” decreed by despots. “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” the declaration also states, highlighting the fact that the UN does not believe in actual rights — especially if they are used to criticize the UN.
Meanwhile, more than a few of the regimes sitting on the UN council have views on human rights that are literally diametrically opposed to the God-given rights of Americans. The communist regime in Beijing, for instance, released a report claiming that the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms is actually a human-rights violation. Such totalitarian views are shared by numerous other UN Human Rights Council member regimes, including the socialist autocracy in Venezuela, which recently disarmed the public with UN help.
Member of the Canadian Parliament Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister for Canada who focuses on human rights, slammed the recent selections for the UN council. “The election of seven of the world's worst human rights violators to the United Nations Human Rights Council is an assault on the UNHCR's mandate to ‘uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,’” he said. “Indeed, the election of states — all designated as ‘Not Free’ by Freedom House in its 2013 'Freedom in the World' Report — mocks the struggle for human rights, betrays its victims, and validates the on-going violations of these rights in the name of the UN. The time is long overdue to sound the alarm.”
In Europe, Member of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott, who serves as the EU body’s vice-president for human rights, also lambasted the General Assembly’s controversial choices. “Allowing China to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council calls into question the Council's credibility,” he said in a statement. “China's human rights record is well-documented. Numerous reports by the UN itself have highlighted degrading and inhumane treatment that is routine in China: forcible abortions, religious persecution, the oppression of minorities, etc.”
Pointing out that even the UN’s former “Rapporteur on Torture” found that the use of torture by the Chinese regime was “widespread,” MEP McMillan-Scott noted that any attempt to discuss individual cases with Beijing are met with “defiance.” While the number of cases is massive, McMillan-Scott highlighted the abduction and disappearance of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng as a prime example. With UN assistance and U.S. taxpayer funds, the Communist Chinese regime has also been perpetrating forced abortions.
Aside from the human rights council, the regime in Beijing — responsible for murdering more innocents than any other entity in human history, estimated at many tens of millions if the unborn are not included — has been making powerful inroads across the entire UN. As The New American reported extensively from Rio de Janeiro last year at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the key global summit was actually chaired by a Chinese Communist Party functionary determined to impose radical visions of so-called “sustainability” on humanity.
Just last week, meanwhile, the mass-murdering regime’s Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping was elected to serve as the president of UNESCO’s 37th session. Blasting the “unsustainable” industrialization that lifted billions out of poverty in recent centuries, the UN agency’s new boss said there was an “urgent need to revolutionize ways of development.” Ironically, considering the communist autocracy's murderous behavior over the decades, Hao also invoked the “universal dream” of “a world of peace, equality, justice and harmony.” The regime has recently started loudly demanding what it calls a "de-Americanized" New World Order with a global currency.
Despite generally paying for almost a quarter of the controversial UN “education” agency’s budget, the U.S. government recently lost its voting rights in the institution. To protest some actions by UNESCO — which, among other radical schemes, has been working to develop a widely criticized “World Core Curriculum” for all students — Congress refused to provide any more funding. In retaliation, the Obama administration lost its vote.
While the U.S. government had previously withdrawn from the anti-American UN “Human Rights” Council, the Obama administration also decided to re-join for purposes that remain unclear. The totalitarian-dominated body responded by lambasting the United States for alleged violations of human rights. More recently, the UN’s self-styled “human rights” authorities have outlandishly called on the U.S. government to “nullify” self defense-related state laws, among other increasingly ludicrous demands.
With the UN’s myriad agencies and tentacles openly run by mass-murdering despots, there have been few plausible justifications for why American taxpayers should continue to finance the spectacle. However, under the rabidly pro-UN Obama administration, the U.S. government has become increasingly intertwined with the “dictators' club,” even reaching a point where UN “authorities” feel confident enough to make bizarre but bold demands aimed at restricting the unalienable rights of the American people.
A bill already introduced in Congress by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and eight co-sponsors, H.R. 75, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, would end the U.S. government’s membership in the UN and cut off funding for all of its dictator-dominated agencies. As more of the world’s worst human rights abusers join fellow tyrants in “human rights” leadership positions at the UN, the time for an American withdrawal has never been more urgent.
Photo of UN General Assembly hall at UN Headquarters in New York City
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at
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