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Apr 22, 2008

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Yesterday's attack by the Islamists, led by Pakistan, had the subtlety of a thin-bladed knife slipped silently under the ribs of the Human Rights Council. At first reading the amendment to the resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression might seem reasonable. It requires the Special Rapporteur: "To report on instances in which the abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination …" (My emphasis.)

"might seem reasonable..." But why would it seem reasonable?

Because, contrary to what many believe, there are actual limits on Freedom of Speech - or rather, there is a general consensus, that if you say certain things there may be legal repercussions, because certain things might be hateful or incite to hatred, and that in turn is a violation of the UDHR articles

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.

Article 14. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

While those articles can primarily be said to deal with how a Government may or may not treat its citizens - they are also clear indications of what we, as a Society, consider to be comme il faut between citizens.

While the amendment to the "job-description" of the Special Rapporteur seems reasonable enough, it isn't, because it requires the Special Rapporteur to regard as non-violations those violations that may be committed by nations against their own citizens. As Ketutar said in a comment to my entry yesterday:

"... still violations of human rights, but CRITICISING and PROTESTING against violations of human rights have become violation of human rights…

I.e - Criticizing one's own government where that government tries to infringe on Civil Liberties has become "illegal" - exactly what Freedom of Speech an Freedom of Expression was once instituted to safe-guard - the People's right to criticize its Government without risk of reprisals.

The consequences of this "amendment" to the UDHR article 19 are far-reaching. Not only does it make it impossible for citizens in religiously rigid societies, such as many Islamic Countries ruled by Sharia Laws, to voice their discontent with their Government. It also makes it possible for said countries to arrest, restrain, expel, gag any Human Rights Organizations that wish to monitor or investigate human rights violations in OIC countries, with impunity - this would include the UN and the Human Rights Council itself.

Freedom of Speech is the back-bone of any democracy, and where Freedom of Speech is restricted in regards to critical analysis of one's government, there can be no democracy. The OIC has clearly told the world that they disagree with democratic principles and democratic government.

Imported from external blog

Apr 22, 2008

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There has been a seismic shift in the balance of power in the UN system. For over a decade the Islamic States have been flexing their muscles. Yesterday they struck. There can no longer be any pretense that the Human Rights Council can defend human rights. The moral leadership of the UN system has moved from the States who created the UN in the aftermath of the Second World War, committed to the concepts of equality, individual freedom and the rule of law, to the Islamic States, whose allegiance is to a narrow, medieval world view defined exclusively in terms of man's duties towards Allah, and to their fellow-travelers, the States who see their future economic and political interests as being best served by their alliances with the Islamic States.

I am not sure the shift is seismic - I think it's a pretty predictable shift. Since the Nations that formed the UN and the the UDHR in the wake of WWII have abdicated from whatever moral high ground they might have had, by accepting and enforcing all sorts of restrictive laws that too are in and of themselves violations of the UDHR. Legislation like the Patriot Act and other "anti-terrorist" legislation adopted by the US and her allies in the "war on Terror". Laws and Legislation that are specifically targeting Arabs and Muslims, as sure as the Nuremberg Laws were targeting the Jews.

It is not surprising then that when given a chance, the OIC will step in and do the same. Really. The leadership has not moved, it was abandoned way back, and the OIC picked it up.

It doesn't make this stunt pulled by the OIC ok, moral or defensible in anyway, but it sure explains why there might be the misunderstanding that violating Human Rights is an ok thing to do.

If the West clearly says that it's ok to violate Human Rights when Arabs and Muslims are involved, then how could the West possibly point at the OIC and say: "No, no, - we we the only ones who may torture, maim, kill and persecute your citizens..." and expect them to accept this?

Reverend Wright said one very true thing in the wake of 9/11 2001: "America's chickens have come home to roost". From the point of view of the OIC this macht übernahme in the Human Rights Council is just another chicken hatching.

End of Part 3

Imported from external blog

Apr 21, 2008

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Three years later Annan's dream lies shattered, and the Human Rights Council stands exposed as incapable of fulfilling its central role: the promotion and protection of human rights. The Council died yesterday in Geneva, and with it the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whose 60th anniversary we were actually celebrating this year.

That is what you get when you consider something as important as Human Rights to be a matter of politics. It reminds me of how the USONA manipulated, rail roaded and blackmailed the world into believing their lies about Iraq. Today we know that there were no WMDs, today we know that there were no Iraqi ties to Al-Qaeda. Hans Blix of the IAEA were right.

Where's the connection? - in its underhandedness. Muslims are being portrayed as the ones that are being persecuted through malicious lies about the Qu'ran and Islam, and therefore non-Muslim assertions, opinions and replies to the Qu'ran must be labeled "abuse of Freedom of speech". That's not saying that malicious lies about the Qu'ran are not being circulated, but the likeness to the Coup the US pulled over Iraq is till there, as there was nothing to say that individual Iraqis had connections to Al-Qaeda

While I certainly understand the pain and frustration one experiences when one's Holy Books are being misinterpreted - just ask any Jews how many lies about Torah and Talmud are out there being disseminated to a larger public who have little to no knowledge of what Torah or Talmud is - using the UDHR to stop people from reading and understanding as they will is unethical at best, immoral at worst.

Then, when one digs a little deeper, and realizes that the OIC is not at all concerned with the persecution of Muslims via malicious readings of the Qu'ran, they might not like those readings, but they accept it as part of being in this world - they are concerned with not having the right to jail, kill, abuse and persecute their own citizens. Citizens who object to Qu'ran based legislation. By inserting this amendment the nations of OIC have made it impossible for the Human Rights Council, and in extension the UN to demand that they honor the UDHR and all it's articles. The nations of the OIC can continue to stone women, hang gays, marry children, mutilate and maim people over misdemeanors etc, and do so without it being a violation of human rights.

It's ingenious in its evilness.

End Part 2

 

Imported from external blog

Apr 21, 2008
International Humanist and Ethical Union carried an article on March 30, 2008. Eleanor Roosevelt with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"With the support of their allies including China, Russia and Cuba (none well-known for their defence of human rights) the Islamic States succeeded in forcing through an amendment to a resolution on Freedom of Expression that has turned the entire concept on its head. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression will now be required to report on the "abuse" of this most cherished freedom by anyone who, for example, dares speak out against Sharia laws that require women to be stoned to death for adultery or young men to be hanged for being gay, or against the marriage of girls as young as nine, as in Iran."

The entire idea is silly, because Religious Freedom and Protection of honor and reputation is already guaranteed by the UDHR (articles 12 and 19), so it seems the OIC is somehow overshooting.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan saw the writing on the wall three years ago when he spoke of the old Commission on Human Rights having "become too selective and too political in its work". Piecemeal reform would not be enough. The old system needed to be swept away and replaced by something better. The Human Rights Council was supposed to be that new start, a Council whose members genuinely supported, and were prepared to defend, the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Yet since its inception in June 2006, the Human Rights Council has failed to condemn the most egregious examples of human rights abuse in the Sudan, Byelorussia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and elsewhere, whilst repeatedly condemning Israel and Israel alone.

Considering that we have 22 Arab Nations, a bunch of Islamic Nations, and Russia, Cuba, China involved as well as the usual abstentions one might be allowed some skepticism. If the old Commission didn't work because of WHO are the members and the incessant politicking around who votes for because another votes against, one can hardly expect a Council to make much head way, if the same members are allowed to influence the work.

It's like the debacle with the UN Resolutions - they will always be slanted against Israel, because there will always be 22 votes against her, plus the allies of those 22 votes...and the allies of those allies...

The whole idea of nations being members of UN Bodies is ridiculous, especially in Bodies that should have no political agenda at all, such as the Human Rights Council. Human Rights, Children's Rights etc are non-political, so the people in UN who deal with those Rights should not be political either - i.e members of the Human Rights Council should not be nations and they should be separated from their Nationality when they assume their duties on the Council. They should also be required to swear that they will maintain their neutrality for the duration of their service on the Council. Any amendments to the various UN Charters and Declarations should be made by those neutral council members and not be voted on out-side the Council.

End Part 1

Imported from external blog


 

 
 
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