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Just when you thought the United Nations Human Rights Council couldn't get worse...

Filed under: United Nations

... well, it does!

Continuing our ongoing battle against the Human Rights Council's stupidity, it's time to unveil just how bad it had gotten over there. I don't want to take all the credit though. All of this information I'm about to show you is freely available on the council's website.

As was revealed in the last post linked above, the council has been holding its fourth session since its inception, going from March 12 through the 30th. In that time it has exempted Iran and Uzbekistan, two of the world's worst human rights abusers, from examinations into their actions. And did you know that development is a fundamental human right? It's news to me... Oh yeah, and let Sudan know of its "deep concern" over the blocking of its examination team from entering the country.

Today was different though! It made sure that things got much, much more stupid. Two absolutely incredible resolutions were passed today that are specifically worth mentioning: a resolution on religious defamation and another on "unilateral coercive measures" with regards to human rights. But why are these things stupid? Read on...

Resolution on the defamation of religion
The original resolution was actually brought up months ago. I've made it available to download here if you want to read it, but here is a long excerpt that is worth reading because there is particularly blaring features of almost every line in it:
Alarmed at the continuing negative impact of the events of 11 September 2001 on Muslim minorities and communities in some non-Muslim countries and the negative projection of Islam in the media, and the introduction and enforcement of laws that specifically discriminate against and target Muslims, Alarmed also at the serious instances of intolerance, discrimination and acts of violence based on religion or belief, intimidation and coercion motivated by extremism, religious or otherwise, occurring in many parts of the world and threatening the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Noting with concern that defamation of religions is among the causes of social disharmony and leads to violations of human rights,
Noting with deep concern the increasing trend in recent years of statements attacking religions, Islam and Muslims in particular, especially in human rights forums,
1. Expresses deep concern at negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence in some regions of the world;
2. Strongly deplores physical attacks and assaults on businesses, cultural centres and places of worship of all religions as well as targeting of religious symbols;
3. Notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions, and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities, in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001;
4. Expresses deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism;
5. Also expresses deep concern at programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at the defamation of religions, in particular when supported by Governments;
6. Deplores the use of the print, audio-visual and electronic media, including the Internet, and any other means to incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination towards Islam or any other religion;
7. Recognizes that in the context of the fight against terrorism and the reaction to counter terrorism measures, defamation of religions becomes an aggravating factor that contributes to the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms of target groups, as well as their economic and social exclusion;
8. Stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions, Islam and Muslims in particular especially in human rights forums;
The resolution exclusively singles out Islam as the major religion in the world that is discriminated against today! And that we must use as much of our state resources as possible to make sure that our institutions do not spread lies about it! But do you see any other religions in there? The Buddhists of Tibet? The Falun Gong of China? The Christians of Sudan for crying out loud?

Perhaps it is especially worth noting that this resolution was presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic States, so one can hardly be surprised at the one-sidedness of it all. Tehmina Janjua, the presenter from Pakistan, even explicitly says that Islam is the discriminated against religion of our day and age. I wonder if Pakistan and fellow supporting OIS member Saudi Arabia plan on upholding such a resolution in their own countries, or will this be yet another double-standard? I think we know the answer to that.

Here is the vote breakdown between countries. Those who voted against all noted that they are against discrimination based on religion, but did not agree that the resolution should be based on defamation, which would lead to restrictions on free speech. Many also made sure to note the one-sidedness of the resolution. So why would a resolution like this even be brought up. You will notice that it is mostly Islamic and authoritarian countries who voted for it. And they still passed with a majority, proving even more that the UN Human Rights Council is a joke!
In favour (24): Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Gabon, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.

Against (14): Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Abstentions (9): Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Peru, Uruguay and Zambia.
What a farse.

Resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures
This is a resolution that Cuba has been campaigning on for awhile. Effectively, and I mentioned this in the previous post, it would prevent the United Nations from sending its own investigators into a country to examine the human rights situation without the express permission of the country itself. Genocide in Sudan? Well, you'll need to get a hand-written note from Khartoum himself first saying that it can enter. Quite a self-serving move for Cuba, as well as many of the council's other member states, as so many have abysmal human rights records! The UN's 13 special rapporteurs may now be eliminated while these countries can submit their own fabricated reports to the body.

Here's the vote break-down:
In favour (32): Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (12): Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Abstention (1): Republic of Korea. Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro, presenting for the Non-Aligned Movement (no agenda there!), had this to say (summary):
The application of unilateral coercive measures against developing countries was a flagrant violation of their rights, as it prevented them from achieving their fundamental human rights, in particular the rights of all persons to an adequate standard of living, food, shelter, and the right to life.
You have to have a dark sense of humor and the ability to laugh at this kind of stuff, otherwise you might break down and cry for how depraved our international institutions have become. How ironic that the most free countries with the best human rights records in the world voted against this, while those with the worst deemed to necessary in order to ensure great rights! Please, someone tell me it's not the open container of glue that's making me see this.

The United Nations Human Rights Council is a joke with deadly consequences. As an institution created to rectify the problems of the previous Human Rights Commission, it has failed miserably and even exacerbated the problem. As before and as predicted, the council has been hijacked by renegade regimes with no interest in human rights but every interest in covering up their own abuses. Only now, because the council has far greater power than the commission, it has become a greater and even desirable avenue for their depravity, where the decisions made have consequences in the larger international sphere.

At least before, the commission the could get away with stuff like this, but never did it have such power to enforce such ridiculous resolutions.

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