Originally created 05/11/02

Human rights farce



It was a travesty when the United States, after a half century of tenure, was thrown off the United Nations Human Rights Commission last year, and although the United States has been voted back on this year, the panel is still a farce.

Just look at who else was voted onto the commission - Zimbabwe, Ukraine and China - all notorious for their abuse of human rights. They join a host of other incumbent oppressive regimes that are on the commission, including Algeria, Libya, Syria, Congo, Uganda and Sudan.

Groups sincerely concerned about human rights are understandably alarmed at a trend which, in effect, puts the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Human Rights Watch, a U.S.-based group that's represented on the U.N. panel, says abusive governments are operating as a bloc to prevent the commission from monitoring or exposing human rights abuses.

The virtual trashing of the commission's charter also accounts for Mary Robinson's decision to quit the post of U.N. high commissioner for Human Rights.

The commission's primary role, says Robinson - to defend freedom and promote human rights around the globe - is being seriously undermined.

Now that the United States is again represented on the United Nation's rights commission, we should exercise all the clout we have on and off the panel to expose the hypocrisy of putting the world's worst human rights abusers in charge of human rights.

If the commission can't get back on the proper track in the next year or so, then it's time to admit the commission has failed its charter and shut down the shop. It's insane to continue to allow the enemies of human rights to be in charge of advancing human rights.