June 30, 2006

June 30, 2006: New, Improved-UN Human Rights Council

The Gulag of Saud Michael I. Krauss and J. Peter Pham, FrontPageMagazine.com, June 28, 2006

Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. Both are adjunct fellows of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

First, on June 19, the new 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council opened its first session in Geneva. The new body replaces the discredited 53-nation Human Rights Commission (see photo above) that was viewed by many as, at the very least, ineffectual in fulfilling its mandate to promote and protect human rights on a global basis.

Many critics considered the main reasons for its ineffectiveness its extreme politicization coupled with the farcical nature of its membership—recall the commission presidency was recently held by Mu’ammar Qaddafi’s Libya.

However, despite the assurance of many—including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who piously declared at the inaugural meeting that “the eyes of the world—especially the eyes of those whose human rights are denied, threatened or infringed—are turned towards this chamber and this Council”—that the new body would be different from its predecessor, early indications are not promising. Despite the solemn assurance by the General Assembly that “members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” the Assembly then proceeded to give the lie to its own statement by electing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a founding leader of the new body.

[....] The Saudi Arabian Women's Rights blog contains the following excerpt from Parvin Darabi's "I am a Moslem Woman." The author is Iranian, but the Saudi rights bloggers insist that exactly the same conception of women's rights obtains in the Wahhabi kingdom:

Islam believes and promotes only one relationship between male and female and that is the relation of lust: "If a man and a woman are alone in one place, the third person present is the devil". Prophet Mohammed.

I am not allowed to swim, ski, ride a bike, dance, learn to play musical instruments, practice gymnastics, or any other sport. I am not even permitted to watch men play sports, either in the stadium and/or on television.

I am not permitted to participate in [....]

Search: conditions in Saudi homes in the U.S.

Note: In Canada, the wife of one of the 17 alleged terrorists, Fahim Ahmad's wife, Mariya, posts a warning to other women not to go watch the brothers play soccer, because it makes them uncomfortable."-- from Hateful chatter behind the veil -- Key suspects' wives held radical views, Web postings reveal Omar El Akkad and Greg McArthur, G&M, June 29, 06

[World's Worst Regimes Revealed

In March 2005, Freedom House published its most recent report on human rights. The report, "The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies 2005," lists Saudi Arabia as one of the "world's 18 worst regimes." It includes detailed summations of the dire situations in Belarus, Burma (Myanmar), China, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Haiti, Laos, Libya, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. Among these countries, only Saudi Arabia appears to be a "dear ally and friend." Here are excerpts from Freedom House's report: [....]

A must read.

How could any Western democracy pay attention to this UN body? Seriously.....


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