Friday, July 28, 2006

The US and UN Relationship: Is a Divorce on the Horizon?

Kofi Annan (r) would like to show John Bolton the door.

Though the US often likes to claim the moral high ground, this nation is a study in contradiction and hypocrisy when it comes to human rights issues. As reported by the BBC in the article linked HERE and above, America's human rights violations have been soundly criticized by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
The US should immediately shut all secret detention facilities used in its campaign against terror groups, the UN Human Rights Committee has said. The committee called on the US to give the International Red Cross prompt access to those held in such jails.

The UN report also covered the domestic human rights situation in the US. It urged the government to ensure the rights of poor people and Blacks are respected in relief efforts.
The panel scolded the US for its treatment of poor people and Blacks in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and suggested a moratorium on the death penalty which disproportionately affects Blacks, Latinos and the poor.

Many of us in the United States will welcome this acknowledgement by the international community that the US is and has been guilty of numerous human rights violations for years. Unfortunately, the report comes at a time when US ruling parties are becoming increasingly frustrated with the United Nations.

This week UN Ambassador John Bolton
is facing congressional hearings. Bolton is a vocal critic of the international body, and has made a career out of trying to undermine the organization, blocking legitimate reform efforts and pushing for greater US hegemony. This report may serve as fuel to Bolton's fire by angering lawmakers who then may sanction the undiplomatic spoiler's quest to destroy the United Nations from within.

Add this to little brother Israel's constant flouting of international law, and we have a recipe that could spell disaster for the US/UN relationship. The US has already worked to weaken UN Security Council admonition of Israel's bombing of unarmed UN observers in Lebanon and Gaza. And Israel opposes a UN role in restoring order and brokering or enforcing a ceasefire before it completely destroys Lebanon.

US lawmakers may see this report as adding insult to injury, and it is doubtful that they will accept this constructive criticism well. Those who already perceive the UN as a nuisance may now begin to see the organization as a threat.

And that development would not bode well for any human beings...


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