Human Rights,  International

Towards a league of Democratic Nations

Recently Alan A wrote about how the group of nearly 100 countries which still legally punish homosexuality had ganged together with several other countries which make excuses for them and voted to remove sexual orientation from a resolution condemning unjustified executions. He concluded:

“So what is this body for? Why do we even bother to afford it any relevance or status? Clearly the nations are not united. There are those who strive – albeit imperfectly – to create a civilised world, and there are those who wish to remain barbaric. So what precisely unites the Nations? Clearly it isn’t a common humanity. It isn’t even the will to define inhumanity.”

Today, news in via the BBC reveals that the Nobel Peace Prize faces a boycott by eighteen countries because the winner is Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese political dissent. The Chinese foreign ministry boasts that more than 100 countries supported Beijing’s condemnation of the award.

This time last year, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison for co-authoring Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform, democracy and human rights in China.

It is a fairly safe bet that there is considerable overlap between the 100 countries in the first case and the 100 countries supporting China today. Both these lists will, undoubtedly, be dominated by the same Islamic theocracies, former-and-current Communist states and African dictatorships that make up more than half of the United Nations.

Indeed, the United Nation’s own Commissioner on Human Rights, Navi Pillai, is staying away, claiming to have a prior engagement. That may be the case, but sceptics note that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself refused to raise Liu Xiaobo’s case when he met with Hu Jintao, the Chinese President.

So, we have to return to Alan A’s original question and ask the obvious follow-up: Is it time to start a new body, a league of democratic countries?

Is it time to stop coluding in a charade that sees countries like Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia on “human rights” commissions? Is it in fact time that the civilised world consolidated its position and left the barbarian nations to their own devices?

It won’t come as much surprise to those who have already seen the far-left politics for what it is that some of the countries backing China (and in so doing effectively endorsing its treatment of political dissent) are the darlings of the “progressive” left in the UK: Cuba, Venezuela and Iran.

Farcically the current president of the United Nations Human Rights Council is Sihasak Phuangketkeow of Thailand, a country whose Constitution has been suspended by a military junta and which now lives under a State of Emergency which, in the words of Human Rights Watch, is used “to violate fundamental rights and obstruct efforts to bring abusers to justice”.

Latest additions to the Council include Saudi Arabia, Kyrgystan, Nigeria, Cuba and Cameroon.

It is an unfunny joke that the task of monitoring, reporting and remedying the human rights ills of the world is left in the hands of thugs and despots.

We should take no further part in the farce and neither should our democratic allies. If the UN must continue, it should be scaled back to necessary business. We should not be endorsing the pantomime that is the UNHRC or lending it any credibility. The oppressed of the world suffer enough – they should not have to endure false hope and betrayal as well.