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United States Quits Human Rights Council

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posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 08:36 AM
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reply to post by wytworm
 


There is double standards in members thinking, I would say apologetic in some ways towards the likes of Sudan and Iran. The UNHRC is imperfect and flawed from the start. I have raised it countless times and criticised the UNHRC on ATS before.

The counter argument to this thread is BS. Sorry, but it is. Certain members interpret this as the United States thinking it is above everyone else. What is really happening is the US is fed up with an institution that is extremely bias and wasting the UN's time. Tin point, corrupt and undemocratic nations are running the UNHRC and its tragic some members think the United States has a worse human rights record than Sudan and Zimbabwe. To turn around and say "Oh, but the United States did this" is childish and diverting the topic away from the extreme bias of the UNHRC mandate.

UNHRC does not have an equal playing field, everyone is not treated equal and certain crimes are ignored for political reasons. Walking out of the council was a good thing, it is a clear sign that the UNHRC is pathetic and unworkable.

Others and I have highlighted examples of where the UNHRC has sided with the likes of Algeria than the United Kingdom. But it seems members on ATS liked the idea of Algeria and Zimbabwe being given a voice by the UN


If you believe in democracy, liberty, justice, human rights and morality then you would be against a UN institution being used by banana republics and fanatics. Most have ignored the key fact I have published on ATS: Amnesty International are even critical of the council, its findings about Hamas in Gaza were ignored by the UNHRC.

But sadly, some cannot put conspiracies aside for one moment and praise the United States for doing the right thing for once


[edit on 10-6-2008 by infinite]




posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 08:50 AM
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reply to post by wytworm
 



Originally posted by wytworm
reply to post by jsobecky
 


I wouldn't wrap myself in the US Flag as I was brought up with very specific guidelines on how you treat the flag. I am disappointed you feel otherwise.

Alright, alright. Sorry. That was uncalled for on my part.


Originally posted by wytworm
Your attitude on the org is one i encounter frequently by those who confuse the model with the execution. The premise of the org is sound, I think there are some concerns about its execution, yes but as Americans we do not quit because things are hard right? Why not just fix it?


The model fails because it fails to take into account the most important element: human nature.

Nations do not have friends. They have interests. Dictators do not respond to a carrot. They only understand the stick.

To some people, socialism and communism are excellent models. But they never work in practice because of human nature.


Originally posted by wytworm
Laziness? In this case I would imagine it gets pretty hot for Human Rights abusers to be involved with such a group. I certainly wouldn't want to represent the USA with its current stance of having no stance on human rights.


Human Rights abusers use their membership in this organization as "proof" that they do not commit atrocities. Indeed, as has been pointed out, nations that commit atrocities have positions of influence in the UNHRC.

You are also making a mistake by implying that dropping out of this org means the US has no stance on Human Rights. That does not follow; it is a false conclusion.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 09:15 AM
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For the record, for those knee-jerks bashing the United States for quitting the UNHRC, you should know that the US was never part of the UNHRC. It held observer status, and had no voice in the the council. It held no vote on the issues. The US simply ended it's observer status.

Further, those bashing the United States for ending it's observer status should know about the entity which they are defending. This is the same council that has ordered it's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to report, not on the oppression/suppression of freedom of speech, but rather on the "abuses" of freedom of speech.

The only country specially condemned by the UNHRC has been Israel, which has been the focus of 9 resolutions. By contrast, all the UNHRC has been able to muster for Sudan is a "deep concern." Israel is the only country which is also a "permanent feature" of every UNHRC session. The Special Rapporteur for Israel/Palestine is the only mandate which does not have an expiration date. The focus has not only been criticized by the US and it's allies, but Human Rights Watch as well. The Council has specifically forbidden it's Commission of Inquiry from investigating human rights violations of groups such as Hezbollah.

Within the US, criticism of the Council has found bi-partisan support. In Sept 2007, the US Senate (Democrat-controlled, mind you) voted to end US funding for the Council. Outside of the US, the US has been joined in criticism of the HRC at times by the UK, India, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, France, Slovenia, Israel, Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-Moon, various NGOs, and the very president of the UNHRC himself, who said it must be improved and cannot focus on just one state in a conflict, but all parties involved.


[edit on 10-6-2008 by SaviorComplex]



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 09:19 AM
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reply to post by infinite
 


You might say it is apologetic, but I am not sure anyone is apologizing for any human rights abuser and saying its ok. I think you are saying it because it is an indirect ad hominem attack on the messenger and not the message. No one could justify apologizing for HR abuses, so lets paint all who disagree with me with an apologist brush so as not to have to deal directly with their message.

As for the US being above everybody else, I think it is undeniable historically that the US has as a superpower been in a leadership position. Would it then be considered good leadership to commit HR abuses then shake a pious finger in the worlds face scolding them for doing the same? Ought not a HR leader be a paragon of virtue in this regard? Does anyone really think 'Do as I say, not as I do' makes for good policy?

I would also reject the notion that it is acceptable to apply some notion of moral relativism in this regard. Its ok for the US to torture in secret (--or blatantly now!) because there is a is a genocide in Sudan? Really?

As for walking out as a good thing, I am not sure how you would really know that. How is it going to stop any govt from committing abuses? So if we can't have it all, lets have nothing. Fascinating.

You would also have to consider who is walking out: The number one / two target for human rights violations in the US! Is GWB really working out because he has suddenly started caring about the efficiency of HR abuse resolution or is it because


The same day as the announcement from the State Department, 56 members of the House of Representatives called for an investigation into the possibility that the Bush Administration may have committed war crimes in its advocacy for more intense interrogation techniques against detainees.


I mean seriously, you can't see the causal link there and you can in the cased for a GWB reform in absentia approach? Really?



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 09:32 AM
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reply to post by jsobecky
 


I really hate replying to your posts because i am not in 100% disagreement with you.


The model fails because it fails to take into account the most important element: human nature...because of human nature.


I am not sure I buy the human nature bit. I might have been before 9/11 and working with the rest of the city on the rescue efforts. To me, every time i get disappointed with people I can't get too upset as I have seen the naked face of humanity at that moment.
I think you know what I mean.

I think you make a good point on it though and would suggest that any model with relies on humans being good actors is flawed as we know they are not always. HOWEVER. If its a choice between driving a flawed model to higher levels or perfection and having no model at all, I choose the former.


You are also making a mistake by implying that dropping out of this org means the US has no stance on Human Rights. That does not follow; it is a false conclusion.


You are 100% right. A better way to say it is an abandoned stance. Formerly: we won't do it so please no one else do it either, then: we will do it but not stick it in your face, to: ok now everyone knows we are no better so lets stop pretending we care.

I think it would be wrong to assume that anyone thinks membership in any organization implies compliance with its precepts. In this case the main advantage is you have everyone more or less bringing their grievances to the table. Sure everyone would rather point out what their neighbor is doing wrong rather than clean their back yard. One is easy and the other is hard. What is supposed to happen is that over time the shouting matches cease and people start banging out the answers. All grievances must be addressed. No one should be barred as it is antithetical to the purpose.

Bear in mind - a human rights abuser still retains human rights.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 09:33 AM
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reply to post by SaviorComplex
 



'In brightest day, In blackest night, fighting ignorance, searching for truth' does not rhyme. I have reported you to Oa. Does that really work to charge your ring?


[edit on 10-6-2008 by wytworm]



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 09:55 AM
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reply to post by wytworm
 


Thank you for proving my point about ATS members keeping turning this around and highlighting the United States instead of focusing on the council itself


The US political and legal system has the ability to investigate apparent war crimes and abuse by Americans, so I do not understand the issue of leaving the UNHRC
You seem to fail, or ignore, the fact the UNHRC is bias and does not defend human rights.

By leaving the UNHRC, it does not mean America can commit human rights abuse without being prosecuted.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 11:08 AM
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reply to post by infinite
 



You seem to fail, or ignore the fact that
the leadership position is not the equivalent between a country like Sudan and a country like the US. Who is better positioned than the US to provide leadership? The UK? Russia? China?

Pretend either or all of them are -- the point you are failing to acknowledge is that no one is excused. We are all equally criminal. What to do? In your model, nothing. Your idea of reliance on the US laws to police the US which would be good in a system where the law applied to the President. Unfortunately in the US it suddenly has ceased to. Now what?

The only way out is to summon the will collectively to agree that what we get out of Human Rights abuses is not as desirable as what we lose, fix the problem locally, then leverage that moral authority globally.

[edit on 10-6-2008 by wytworm]



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 11:35 AM
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reply to post by wytworm
 


First it was infinite




I am sorry to agree with jsobecky,


and now you:


I really hate replying to your posts because i am not in 100% disagreement with you
.

Grover hates me, too.

What is it with you folks? Am I that bad??

I'm outta this thread.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 11:50 AM
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reply to post by manson_322
 



I am well aware of our shameful treatment of Native Americans and our past involvement in Slavery. I do not condone it in any matter. Howerer, that was done well over a century ago, hopefully we have progressed since then. There are fare more recent and larger examples out there, by other nations. The China example was just one. Sadly, there are more than a handful of other ones in the last 50 years even. Just call everyone out on it, don't single out just specific nations while ignoring others.


[edit on 10-6-2008 by pavil]



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 11:58 AM
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Originally posted by SaviorComplex
For the record, for those knee-jerks bashing the United States for quitting the UNHRC, you should know that the US was never part of the UNHRC. It held observer status, and had no voice in the the council. It held no vote on the issues. The US simply ended it's observer status.


[edit on 10-6-2008 by SaviorComplex]




Yes, this is just another step in the wrong direction, as symbolic as it might be.

If an individual dropped out, it would mean nothing. However, what else is the US doing to promote Human Rights around the world? Do we even agree that there are Human Rights which should be fought for?

What we want to see is the US taking the lead in securing human rights around the world. Why? Because that is what our country was founded on... "inalienable rights endowed by our creator".

If we are fighting for these rights in every corner of the world, in both ways that matter, and in symbolic ways such as our participation (however small) in a UN Human Rights Group, then what are our plans for the world?


I agree with you, I am tired of the knee jerk reactions to the people who are upset about this!



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 12:04 PM
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reply to post by grover
 



But do you then admit that the UNHRC has no real "teeth", they cannot do anything to a country such as Sudan as long as they Council is set up the way it is? Why participate in a group that is totally inneffective at protecting the human rights of member States?

I would say the next actions of the U.S. at this point should the UN decide not to do anything, would be unilateral sanctions on Sudan and working with Non UN groups such as the African Union to pressure Sudan. Mere words are obviously not enough. You state engage, engage, engage while the killings continue, where is your outrage over that?

We (the U.S.) have stated our desire for reform, the EU has as well, even the President of the UNHRC has and yet nothing changes........Very Orwellian to me.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by Quazga
What we want to see is the US taking the lead in securing human rights around the world. Why? Because that is what our country was founded on... "inalienable rights endowed by our creator".


And the UNHRC is obviously not seeking to secure human rights around the world. All indications are that it is actively seeking to supress human-rights. It is pointless to be on the UNHRC or attempt to change it, and the experience of the Western nations on the UNHRC shows this. They are consistently overwhelmed by the nations that want to both seek to supress human rights and cover-up the supression.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 12:11 PM
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reply to post by jsobecky
 


I meant to correct it and must have missed it. I know it was infinite. Didn't mean to drive you away, I meant you come on so strong that I want to blast back but often have to stop and consider, as you DO make some good points...

[edit on 10-6-2008 by wytworm]



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 12:23 PM
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Originally posted by wytworm
Pretend either or all of them are -- the point you are failing to acknowledge is that no one is excused. We are all equally criminal. What to do? In your model, nothing.


No, if you bothered paying attention you would notice that others and I are against politicising human rights i.e why we are against the UNHRC (what the debate is about here). You've seen countless times on this thread ATS members politicising the issue by blaming everything on America.

Just because we are against politicisation does not mean we suddenly become morally and ethically bankrupt in reference to human rights.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As jsobecky said, America is no worse than the British and the other European empires. Heck, why not go back to the Romans if members are bringing up history
...okay, lets agree to blame it all on the Babylonians?

But at least wytworm has an element of common sense and intelligence...unlike some. He is worth directly responding to and mentioning by name.

pavil, who is making excellent points to this thread, now has to play around with infantile members who cannot engage in an intelligent debate without mentioning the words "imperialist", "slavery" and "native Americans". Using 200 year old arguments is pure amateurish and shows lack of understanding of debating and discussing a modern topic. Ruthlessly waving your history textbook in a thread is not going to impress members, let alone your teacher


[edit on 10-6-2008 by infinite]



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 12:29 PM
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To the posters criticizing the US for leaving the UNHRC and for it's own failings in human rights; that still does not make what the UNHRC does justified or right. Your silence on this topic is deafening.

How is is right that a nation, a denier of basic human rights to it's own citizens and under investigation for major human rights violations, basically has a say in the Council's actions towards it? The UNHRC council gets effectively blocked by any nation willing to thwart the Council's will.

It truly baffles me that you are more concerned with the U.S. leaving the Council, where it was only an observer, when members of the council are able to effectively ignore another nations (Sudan) genocide of it's own civillians. Humans rights??? The UNHRC is a very bad joke. That you seem to laugh along with the UNHRC disgusts me.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by pavil
It truly baffles me that you are more concerned with the U.S. leaving the Council, where it was only an observer, when members of the council are able to effectively ignore another nations (Sudan) genocide of it's own civillians. Humans rights??? The UNHRC is a very bad joke. That you seem to laugh along with the UNHRC disgusts me.


Bingo. Key point and starred for it.

pavil and I have mentioned the UNHRC silence on the following;


  • genocide
  • gay rights
  • women rights
  • democracy
  • religious freedom


Nobody has responded to them and simply decided to focus on the United States instead. It is a truly remarkable thing to witness.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 01:28 PM
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Originally posted by SaviorComplex

Originally posted by Quazga
What we want to see is the US taking the lead in securing human rights around the world. Why? Because that is what our country was founded on... "inalienable rights endowed by our creator".


And the UNHRC is obviously not seeking to secure human rights around the world. All indications are that it is actively seeking to supress human-rights. It is pointless to be on the UNHRC or attempt to change it, and the experience of the Western nations on the UNHRC shows this. They are consistently overwhelmed by the nations that want to both seek to supress human rights and cover-up the supression.



Can you please cite references for the "indications are that it is actively seeking to suppress human rights?"

I thank you for engaging me on this, but your post basically reads "I don't like them, and you should know why".

I for one think any organization who creates a charter which claims Healtcare as a Human Right is hardly attempting to suppress human rights.

Could you show me something which would persuade me otherwise? I'm not a UN bigot in any way (pro or con), and I'm not talking about the UN in general here, just the Human Rights Commission.



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 01:54 PM
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Originally posted by Quazga
Can you please cite references for the "indications are that it is actively seeking to suppress human rights?"

....Could you show me something which would persuade me otherwise? I'm not a UN bigot in any way (pro or con), and I'm not talking about the UN in general here, just the Human Rights Commission.


First off the HRC does not exist any more, it have been replaced by it's successor the UN Human Rights Council. Actually

On May 4, 2004, United States ambassador Sichan Siv walked out of the Commission following the uncontested election of Sudan to the commission, calling it an “absurdity” in light of Sudan’s ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region.
The HRC was an awful joke as well.

The UNHRC has tried to limit disscussion on Tibet by saying it is concerning only one state and should not be a topic. Tibet off the UNHRC agenda _Amnesty International

This has been posted here previously, by infinte, please read our links and actually poke around on the websites we reference, there is a ton of info regarding this topic on them.


As the UN Human Rights Council’s inaugural year comes to a close, the Council is meeting this week in Geneva to determine some of the fundamental procedures that will be used by the body in years to come. A number of member countries have proposed that country-specific “special procedures”—the special experts, representatives and rapporteurs who investigate human rights abuses in particular countries—be abolished, particularly those assigned to Cuba, Belarus, Burma and North Korea. The system of special procedures had been one of the few effective mechanisms of the UN Commission on Human Rights in responding to urgent human rights issues both thematically and regionally and prescribing avenues for improvement.


www.freedomhouse.org...

Again, this is documentation already brought up in this thread.

This should be enough to cause you to investigate further, should you feel so inclined.

The UNHRC is also working to limit the input NGO's have by limiting how they can report to the Council.



Other procedures determining the Council’s future activities will also be voted on this week. In particular, the structure of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which was mandated by the resolution that established the Council last year, will be established. Under discussion is whether outside experts and nongovernmental organizations will be able to play a key role in the review; currently, documents provided by the state in question appear to comprise the bulk of the evidence used for the review.


I wonder what the human rights review of North Korea, written by North Koreans will say.........?

What a joke!


[edit on 10-6-2008 by pavil]



posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by Quazga
Can you please cite references for the "indications are that it is actively seeking to suppress human rights?"


For example:

The UNHRC has forbidden it's Commission of Inquiry into the events of the 2006 Lebanon War from looking at the the actions of Hezbollah.


The Commission noted that its report on the conflict would be incomplete without fully investigating both sides, but that "the Commission is not entitled, even if it had wished, to construe [its charter] as equally authorizing the investigation of the actions by Hezbollah in Israel," as the Council had explicitly prohibited it from investigating the actions of Hezbollah.


According to the Dutch Foriegn Minister:


"At the United Nations, censuring Israel has become something of a habit, while Hamas's terror is referred to in coded language or not at all.


The UNHRC passed a resolution directing it's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression report on abuses of freedom of speech:


The resolution itself at first calls for freedom of religion, but then goes on to say that people must speak “with responsibility”, and freedoms of speech may be limited in areas regarding “public health and morals” or “respect for religions and beliefs”.


SOURCE

According to the Washington Post:


Eighteen of the 19 states dubbed "the worst of the worst" by the monitoring group Freedom House (Israel is not on the list) were ignored by the council in its first year. One mission was dispatched to examine the situation in Darfur. When it returned with a report criticizing the Sudanese government, the council refused to endorse it or accept its recommendations.


And in a sick, ironic twist...


The regime of Gen. Omar al-Bashir, which is responsible for at least 200,000 deaths in Darfur, didn't just escape any censure. Sudan was a co-sponsor on behalf of the Arab League of the latest condemnations of Israel


Now, ask me again if I believe the UNHRC is engaged in the cover-up of human-rights violations and actively engaging in a campaign of suppression.



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