The results of the Obama administration’s decision to submit the United States to the evaluation of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, a procedure snubbed by the Bush administration because of the records of those on the panel, are starting to appear, and they include harsh condemnation from such human rights “leaders” as Cuba, Libya, and Iran.
Before the report was unveiled, experts predicted that it would be used as “cannon fodder” by critics of the U.S.
It seems that those forecasts are coming true, with nations such as Egypt, where the government arrests Christians who complain of being attacked by Muslims, and China, which has harshly limited couples to one child with forced abortions, lining up to instruct the U.S. on human rights.
A video has been prepared by an organization called “eyeontheun” that highlights the more egregious comments:
The Universal Periodic Review report itself has been posted online by the Heritage Foundation.
As Esther Brimmer, an assistant secretary in the bureau of international organization affairs under Obama, talked about what an “honor” it was for the U.S. to be put under the scrutiny of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Castro regime and others, the criticism, relayed through interpreters, started.
- From Cuba came a recommendation “to end the blockade against Cuba, which is described as a crime of genocide … to put on trial the perpetrators of torture … to halt the war crimes of their troops abroad … to put an end to the persecution and execution of mentally ill persons and minors and discrimination against persons of African origin.” Additionally, the Cuban delegation insisted the U.S. “ensure realization of rights of food and health of all who live in their territory.”
- From Iran was a call “to implement the following recommendations … to halt serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law … Legislate appropriate regulations to prevent the violation of individual privacy … to take effective measures to counter insults against Islam and the holy Quran as well as Islamophobia … and effectively combat violence against women.”
- Nicaragua tagged the U.S. with the blame for, well, almost everything: “The United States of America, since its very origin, has used force indiscriminately as the central pillar of its policy of conquest and expansionism, causing death and destruction … The United States of America, which pretends to be the guardian of human rights in the world, questioning other countries, has been and continues to be the one which most systematically violates human rights. Nicaragua therefore makes the following recommendations: To immediately halt the unjustified arms race and to judge those responsible for all war crimes and massacres against unarmed civilians, women and children, as well as torture. …. Assume its responsibilities which have been caused by capitalism, causing natural disasters, particularly in the poorest countries.”
- North Korea: “The DPRK remains gravely concerned by persistent reports of systematic and widespread human rights violations committed by the United States of America, and recommends as the following: Take legislation and administrative measures to address a wide range of racial discrimination and inequalities in housing, employment and education…. Prohibiting and punishing the brutality… by law enforcement officials. Take effective measures to put an end to gross human rights abuse, including violence against women.”
- Egypt: “We remain concerned about certain U.S. policies and practices in the field of human rights, and therefore Egypt presents the following recommendations to the United States: Review its laws at the federal and state levels with a view to bringing them in line with its international human rights obligations. To devise specific programs aimed at countering growing Islamaphobia and xenophobic trends in society. To end the use of military technology and weaponry that have proven to be indiscriminate and cause excessive and disproportionate damage to civilian life.”
- Not to be outdone, China said: “We have also noticed with concern that there are gaps in the U.S. laws protecting human rights … there is also a serious discrimination against Muslims and minority racial groups … in the name of fighting terror. The United States is also monitoring the exercise of its citizens’ freedom of expression and the right to free Internet access. We have the following recommendations … ending excessive use of force by law enforcement agents .. modify the definition of discrimination in its laws to bring it in line with … international standards.”
- Said Libya: “The United States need to accede to international human rights instruments. … it should prosecute those responsible for violations of human rights in American prisons.”
Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, another U.S. spokesman dispatched by the Obama administration, said the U.S. was “humbled by the recognition that we need to continue and even redouble our efforts as we strive to make ours a more perfect union.”
At the Powerline Blog was this conclusion:
“The Obama administration has a message for the world. The message is something along these lines: The United States is very bad, but Barack Obama is very good. He seeks to redeem America from its evil.”
In its official respond to the criticisms, the U.S., through State Department legal adviser Harold Koh, said, “Civil society has made invaluable contributions to our UPR report and presentation and will continue to be our partner as we consider these many recommendations.”
At Hot Air.com noted that among the critics, Iran “currently [is] poised to stone an Iranian woman for adultery” and North Korea “systematically starves a captive population.”
“The temptation here is to frame this as an Obama problem, part of his world apology tour, etc, but that’s only half the equation. His deputies could have and should have treated this ‘critique’ with the utter contempt it deserved, but as I noted above, we’re now obliged by resolution to account for our sins periodically to vastly worse offenders,” the commentator wrote.
According to a Fox News analysis of the presentation, “what really is under review is the gamble by the Obama administration to join the council in the first place, rather than shun it in disdain, as the Bush administration did, along with its predecessor, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, because of its roster of despotic members and unbridled antagonism toward Israel.”
The Heritage Foundation reported that in earlier reports to the same group:
- China claimed that it “adheres to the principle that all ethnic groups are equal and implements a system of regional ethnic autonomy in areas with high concentrations of ethnic minorities” and that its elections are “democratic” and “competitive.”
- Cuba claimed its “democratic system is based on the principle of ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people.’” Cuba also claimed the rights to “freedom of opinion, expression and the press” are protected.
- North Korea claimed it “comprehensively provides” for fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedoms “of speech, the press, assembly, demonstration and association … work and relaxation, free medical care, education and social security.”
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