Friday, July 27, 2007

A Catastrophe for Human Rights

"The root cause of the problem in the Council is the geographical distribution of its membership. The African and Asian states have an in-built majority. While this can be justified by the number of states and the populations involved, it enables a group of states, euphemistically called the "like-minded" group, to control the Council. Sadly, these states, as diverse as China, India, Pakistan and Cuba, are like-minded only in their determination to shield one another from accusations of human rights abuse.


I have been involved in the human rights bodies in Geneva for the past four years as the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) representative. It is difficult for me to describe my feelings of dismay at what has happened. It is also rare indeed for me to find myself in complete agreement with the U.S. administration. The United States, which is not a member, issued a communiqué following the last session of the Council that said in part:
"The Council focused almost exclusively during the year on a single country -- Israel -- and failed to address serious human rights violations in other countries such as Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Belarus, and Cuba."


Only Israel can be certain of condemnation. I also predict that no resolution will ever be passed condemning those who kill, or call on others to kill, in the name of religion. But I am equally certain that the Council will continue to pass resolutions "combating defamation of religion" (read "Islam")."

Roy W. Brown, July 3, 2007
See also: Islamic countries criticize UN secretary general

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