Sunday, June 24, 2007

Meddling By Proxy

It isn't enough that the current administration has broken a country by an illegal war and interfered in an entire region already a tinderbox to foment another war. Now it even injects its will into an international organization set up to protect human rights. From a June 20,2007 op-ed piece in Switzerland's Le Temps:

Over the past few days and on an issue that has been much abused of late, Geneva has been the theater for a powerful moment in multilateral democracy. By consensus, the United Nations Human Rights Council has just approved its institutional structure, which is meant to strengthen the protection of human rights. The moment is historic given an international context that could have contributed to the Council's failure.

The “package” proposed by the President of the Human Rights Council, Luis Alfonso de Alba, is imperfect. But it gives the means for the Council - which has at times been the focus of ridicule during the first year of its existence - the means to win for itself credibility. ...

And the intense negotiations of the past few days have served to expose to the light of day the international architecture of power. It was completely clear on Monday evening that decisions are no longer being made in Geneva, but in Beijing, Washington and other capitals in Europe. non-member of the Human Rights Council - the United States - was very active in seeking to encourage Canada to act as a Trojan horse and torpedo the consensus.

Washington, said one attendee, pushed in vain for Poland to do the same. It was another attempt to divide Europe following the example used for the anti-missile shield. The most worrying aspect of this attitude of the White House, which is a long way from reflecting American sensitivities regarding human rights, is that Washington is prepared to undermine the Council without even offering something to replace it with.
[Emphasis added]

The White House, still angry that the US doesn't have a seat on the Council, decided that the best response was simply to destroy the council and recruited Canada and Poland (who do have seats) to do the dirty work. It almost worked, but the consensus prevailed.

Why would the US want to take down an international human rights council? Could it possibly have something to do with the egregious violations of human rights in Guantanamo Bay and the renditions to black prisons in Europe?

Oh, surely not! This is America and Americans don't do that sort of thing.

Or do we...

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