Remember when the U.S. was considered a beacon of human rights? Remember how the U.S. led the way in establishing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Ah, those were the days.
Then came Iraq, Abu Ghraib, the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, etc., etc., etc.
Now the Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS) is reporting that the U.S. is separating itself from the United Nations Human Rights Council. And the rest of the world believes that the U.S. has lost its credibility on human rights.
Here are some excerpts from a May 3rd IPS article:
[i]When the 192-member U.N. General Assembly meets in mid-May to elect 14 new members to the 47-nation Geneva-based Human Rights Council (HRC), the United States will be conspicuous by its absence and missing from the ballot.
Justifying its decision, Washington says it will skip the elections because the HRC has lost its “credibility” for focusing primarily on one country – Israel – and ignoring “human rights abusers” such as Myanmar (Burma), Iran, Zimbabwe and North Korea.
But U.N. diplomats, human rights activists and legal experts point out that the administration of President George W. Bush has no legitimate right to sit in judgment over the transgressions of others while its own “abusive behavior” is not under scrutiny by any international body.
“The United States does not have a shred of moral authority left; its only authority is the big stick,” Michael Ratner, president of the New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights, told IPS.
He argued that the U.S. claim it is staying away from the elections because the Council has lost its credibility is “bogus”.
“It is the United States that has lost its credibility, and that is why it would never be elected. Ask almost anyone in the world whether the U.S. engages in torture – sadly the answer will be affirmative,” he added.
Stephen Zunes, professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, says the United States is certainly not the only country which has engaged in violations of international humanitarian law to an extent that raises questions regarding the appropriateness of sitting on the U.N.'s Human Rights Council.
Indeed, there are quite a few countries that are even worse, he noted, particularly regarding the treatment of their own citizens.
“Still, there is perhaps no other country that is so self-righteous about lecturing governments it doesn’t like about their human rights abuses while simultaneously defending its own human rights abuses of foreign nationals as well as providing large-scale security assistance to allied regimes which engage in even more egregious human rights abuses,” Zunes told IPS.[/i]
Read the full article here:
So this is how we are seen by the world today. We have lost our moral authority.
Today, America stands as a symbol for the blatant disregard of human rights and the rule of law.
I am embarrassed, ashamed, and angry as hell.