On May 11, 2009, Vaclav Havel, the former president of the Czech Republic, expressed his deep concerns about the United Nations Human Rights Council. Havel had led the dissident movement in then-communist Czechoslovakia during the 1970s and 1980s and had also spent several brutal years in prison. Thus, he understood only too well the machinations of totalitarian governments. His op-ed in the New York Times criticized the U.N. Human Rights Council, which had replaced the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
Governments seem to have forgotten the commitment made only three short years ago to create an organization able to protect victims and confront human rights abuses wherever they occur.
An essential precondition was better membership. The council's precursor, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, was folded in 2006 mainly because it had, for too long, allowed gross violators of human rights like Sudan and Zimbabwe to block action on their own abuses.
The council was supposed to be different. For the first time, countries agreed to take human rights records into account when voting for the council's members, and those member-states that failed to, in the words of the founding resolution, ‘uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights' would find themselves up for review and their seats endangered. For victims of human rights abuses and advocates for human rights worldwide, the reforms offered the hope of a credible and effective body.
Now, it seems, principle has given way to expediency. Governments have resumed trading votes for membership in various other United Nations bodies, putting political considerations ahead of human rights. The absence of competition suggests that states that care about human rights simply don't care enough. Latin America, a region of flourishing democracies, has allowed Cuba to bid to renew its membership. Asian countries have unconditionally endorsed the five candidates running for their region's five seats - among them, China and Saudi Arabia.
Anne Bayefsky, long in the forefront of highlighting U.N. abuses, was appalled that in May of 2010, Libya was to be included in the U.N. Human Rights Council. Although the United States Department has stated that in "Libya there is routine torture and abuse of detainees, legally-sanctioned amputations and flogging, sentencing of political opposition members without trial, [and] indefinite detention of women and girls 'suspected of violating moral codes, ...'" the Obama administration made no move to deny Libya a seat. The Council also comprises Malaysia, Mauritania, Uganda, Angola, and Qatar. In Uganda, "wife-beating [is] a husband's prerogative." Monitoring of internet chat rooms and widespread rape of inmates occurs in Angola, while "in Malaysia, religious authorities arrest 'deviants' in order to return them to the ‘true path of Islam.'" In Qatar, "the law calls for 10 year sentences for individuals proselytizing anything but Islam, [and] conversion away from Islam is a capital offense." Furthermore, "the legal system treats with leniency men who murder women where there has been ‘immodesty' on the part of the victim." Syria promotes the infamous blood libel against Israel, and Algeria describes Israelis as "butchers."
Many of these Council members criticize free speech, constantly denounce Israel, exonerate Muslim extremists, and deny basic freedoms to their own people. In fact, Israel-bashing is a persistent theme of the Council. Furthermore, at no time have Iranian calls for genocide been criticized by this body.
Notwithstanding all this, joining the Council was one of Obama's priorities, and this occurred in May of 2009. Thus, Obama was content with joining current Council members like Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Russia, Egypt, and Kyrgyzstan. Previously, "Bush had decided not to seek a seat on the Council on the grounds that the reform had been a sham."
So against this backdrop, Barack Hussein Obama now has the United States positioned to come under international review by some of the most brutal and despotic nations in the world. The Obama administration has issued a 29-page report, the first ever "Universal Period Review (UPR) report" to the United Nations by the United States.
And lo and behold, the State of Arizona is included in this report. In section 94, the report states that
[u]nder section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, DHS may delegate authority to state and local officers to enforce federal immigration law. DHS has made improvements to the 287(g) program, including implementing a new, standardized Memorandum of Agreement with state and local partners that strengthens program oversight and provides uniform guidelines for DHS supervision of state and local agency officer operations; information reporting and tracking; complaint procedures; and implementation measures. DHS continues to evaluate the program, incorporating additional safeguards as necessary to aid in the prevention of racial profiling and civil rights violations and improve accountability for protecting human rights.
95. A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world. The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined.
96. President Obama remains firmly committed to fixing our broken immigration system, because he recognizes that our ability to innovate, our ties to the world, and our economic prosperity depend on our capacity to welcome and assimilate immigrants. The Administration will continue its efforts to work with the U.S. Congress and affected communities toward this end.
As Doug Hagmann has written, "The stakes for our national sovereignty have been just raised by the submission of this document, which is the first step of 'voluntary compliance' to the provisions of the United Nations' Human Rights Council." In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer writes that "the idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a state of the United States to 'review' by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional. Human rights as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions are expressly protected in S.B. 1070 and defended vigorously by my Administration."
In fact, S.B. 1070 clearly states that "a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection[.]"
Furthermore, Governor Brewer has said that "the State of Arizona will fight any attempt by the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations to interfere with the duly enacted laws of the State of Arizona in accordance with the U.S. Constitution."
Because of Obama's decision to have America join the Council, American taxpayers are now financially supporting anti-Israel, anti-American rhetoric and hatred "posted, translated and broadcast around the world." That a single dollar is used to promote this disgusting agenda is deplorable; that the man who is supposed to represent the best interests of America should sanction it makes one wonder about his true allegiance.