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Missing the Point on Human Rights
Posted By Grace Melton On December 17, 2010 @ 1:00 pm In International | Comments Disabled
The Norwegian Nobel Committee held its annual awards ceremony last week in Oslo, where it intended to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize  to Chinese intellectual  and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo  “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Still imprisoned, Liu was prevented  from traveling  to Oslo to participate in the ceremony, and his family and friends were denied permission to leave  China and accept the prize on his behalf.
Also notably absent  from the ceremony was U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who declined her invitation to the event, drawing further criticism of the U.N. leadership from human rights groups for its near silence on human rights abuses in China. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been accused of muting any criticism of China’s human rights record in order to curry favor  with the Chinese government, whose vote could block him from winning a second term as Secretary General.
Hypocrisy surrounding human rights issues is unfortunately a regular pattern at the U.N. and its various entities. Just last month the U.N.’s newly created gender  entity, U.N. Women , elected the Islamic Republic of Iran  to a seat  on the executive board. Under Iranian law, women are not entitled to the same rights as men, and they suffer human rights abuses  routinely. Saudi Arabia, another country with a notoriously bad record on upholding women’s human rights, was also selected to sit on the 41-member executive board .
Bringing a taste of the U.N. human rights apparatus home, the Obama Administration recently sent a delegation of 35 individuals—mostly employees of the U.S. Departments of State, Labor, or Justice—to be verbally flogged  for the United States’ alleged human rights “abuses” before the Human Rights Council for its Universal Periodic Review. Fifty six U.N. member states—including Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran—took turns to question the U.S. delegation during the question and recommendation portion of the session , many of them denouncing the United States and its record .
For its part, the U.S. delegation spent much of its time emphasizing  domestically controversial issues, such as promoting homosexual “rights” by seeking to repeal the Defense of Marriage  Act and the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, and pledging to seek ratification  of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Fulfilling such promises—both unwise and unpopular at home—would compound the damage the Obama Administration has already done to American leadership in human rights in choosing to join the Human Rights Council.
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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/12/17/missing-the-point-on-human-rights/
URLs in this post:
 Prize: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2010/press.html
 intellectual: http://blog.heritage.org../2009/12/11/charter-08%25E2%2580%2599s-liu-xiaobo-deserves-public-support-from-obama/
 Liu Xiaobo: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/liu_xiaobo/index.html
 prevented: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/world/europe/11nobel.html?_r=1&ref=liu_xiaobo
 traveling: http://blog.heritage.org../2010/12/10/liu-xiaobo-and-the-2010-nobel-peace-prize/#more-48142
 leave: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/1/china-warns-nobel-winner-kin-against-going-to-oslo/
 absent: http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/12/06/un_human_rights_chief_declines_invite_to_nobel_peace_prize_ceremony
 favor: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/china-backs-ban-ki-moon-advocacy-groups
 gender: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/04/CEDAW-and-the-New-UN-Gender-Office-The-US-Can-Do-Better
 Women: http://www.unwomen.org/
 Iran: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roya-boroumand/a-bad-bargain-for-all_b_781706.html
 seat: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/10/iran-saudi-arabia-women-united-nations.html#more
 abuses: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/iran/page.do?id=1381041
 board: http://www.unwomen.org/about-un-women/executive-board/
 flogged: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/11/05/anne-bayefsky-america-human-rights-council-geneva-cuba-iran-north-korea/
 session: http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/session9/US/A_HRC_WG.6_9_L.9_USA.pdf
 record: http://video.foxnews.com/v/4406207/un-questions-us-human-rights-record/
 emphasizing: http://www.c-fam.org/publications/id.1734/pub_detail.asp
 Marriage: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/01/Defending-Marriage-A-Memo-to-President-elect-Obama
 ratification: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Testimony/Womens-Rights-Are-Human-Rights
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