Friday, May 18, 2007

Well, at least they have a lot of experience...

Belarus did not make it to the UN Human Rights Council, on account of not having any human rights.

Not that I mind - perish the thought - I think this is a good step in the right direction, but why did they elect Angola, Egypt and Qatar now? More to the point, what are such staunch human right defenders as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia doing there already? I can well imagine their campaigns for election to the Human Rights Council: "Elect Saudi Arabia! We promise to defend your freedom of religion! Besides, we have a lot of experience with beheadings!" or "Nigeria for the Human Rights Council! We know everything about getting stoned! We will also protect children's rights to get polio!".

In a sane world even an application to any human-rights related body by something Saudi Arabia would have been the laugh of all the world for a week, but part of the problem is structural. The Human Rught Council has 13 seats for Africa, 13 seats for Asia, 6 for Eastern Europe, 8 for Latin America and the Caribbean, and 7 for the "Western European and Others". Where do you get 13 even marginally civilized countries in Africa, where? And in Asia?

I think the general problem of the UN is that this is an organization that tries to maintain the fiction that Equatorial Guinea or Sudan are normal countries just like France of Germany, and somehow have a right to an opinion about things like human rights, or rather a right to have someone listen to their opinion.

(Yeah, I understand how playing a little "you are a normal country just like us and we'll try really hard not to giggle" game can be useful in some situation can be useful in some circumstances. Mostly, though, it isn't, as evidenced by the UN.)

As of the beginning of this year, for example, the UN Human Rights Council has passed 8 resolutions condemning Israel, and no resolutions condemning, say, Sudan for that little genocide of about 400 000 people. Seriously - would you expect anything else from a UN body with 13.5 Muslim countries (out of 47), quite regardless of what Israel or Sudan might or might not be doing?

Not that they forgot about Sudan completely, mind you. They have expressed deep concern. Maybe even grave concern.

(Meanwhile, there have been refugees arriving from Sudan to Israel, with Israel desperately trying not to let them in. Are there any Israeli refugees trying to get to Sudan? Or even Palestinian refugees, for that matter?)

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