I’m having a discussion on the above theme with Shmuel Rosner, Washington correspondent for Ha’aretz, over at Jewcy.
Despite Rwanda, Srebrenica and Darfur, I keeping trying to believe, or rather hope, that the United Nations can be transformed into a political force for good (I know that its relief organisations do great work). There are some dedicated idealists at the UN, who really believe in its humanitarian ideals.
But it’s not looking good. The new Human Rights Council, brought in to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission, has proved no better and, surprise, surprise, is utterly obsessed with Israel. Yes, there certainly human rights issues to be examined in both Israel and Palestine. But even the normally ever-so diplomatic Ban Ki-Moon has asked that the HRC direct its attention to issues other than Palestine, sometimes.
It was little reported that last week the General Assembly, which is dominated by the G-77 group of Non-Aligned countries, voted to make Burma a vice-president for the session starting in September 2008. Yes, that’s right, Burma, whose military stops monks protesting by smashing their heads against a wall. Burma, whose ruling junta has killed many thousands of its own citizens by refusing to let aid workers in after the recent natural disasters. Is there any more cynical government in the world? Then again, you have to see the anti-western mindset that dominates much of the UN to believe it. (Apart from, of course, the fleshpots and shopping opportunities of New York)
The UN Charter does have a provision for member states to be suspended or expelled but obviously this will never happen. In the UN’s corridors of power, the human rights abusers are winning. What might be more productive would be for member states such as the United States, which contributes 22 per cent of the budget, or Britain, which contributes 6 per cent, to deduct the proportion allocated to, for example, the cost of the Human Rights Council from their payment. There is really no reason at all for western democracies to pay for these hate-fests.