In a year that has seen protests in the Ukraine, Venezuela and Turkey, to name but a few, the UN Human Right’s Council resolution, passed on Friday 28 March, on The promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, tried to safeguard this right.
Yet, despite its significance, its road to approval was paved with difficulties and idiosyncrasies: Continue reading ‘Shaky road to important peaceful protest resolution’
The General Assembly today elected by acclamation Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua as President of its sixty-third session to begin in September. Mr. Brockmann – a Catholic priest who is described as a “stern critic” of the United States – delivered an inaugural address in which he called for greater “democratization” of the United Nations, increased efforts to combat hunger, poverty, and terrorism, as well as more cooperation on climate change, human rights, and disarmament.
“Our nations must be united in the struggle to democratize the United Nations… I firmly believe solidarity is essential to ensure that we achieve our common goals,” said Ambassador Brockmann. “I firmly believe in the revitalizing power of love.”
What the ex-Sandinista means by “democracy,” of course, is more power at the UN to dictatorships like Syria, Zimbabwe and Cuba, and less to elected liberal democracies on the Security Council like the U.S., France and the U.K.
In a jab at the US, Brockmann said the UN must prevent “acts of aggression such as those occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan,” a comment that drew a quick rebuke.
“The president of the General Assembly is supposed to be a uniter,” said Richard Grenell, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission. “We have made it clear that these crazy comments are not acceptable, and we hope he refrains from this talk and gets to work on General Assembly business.”
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What This Council Can Do For the People of Burma
UN Watch Speech before UN Human Rights Council
Special Session on Human Rights Situation in Burma
2 October 2007
Delivered by Leon Saltiel, Director of Communications, UN Watch
Thank you, Mr. President.
We gather here today to discuss the emergency situation in Burma. The military regime cloaks its acts — and its shame — behind an iron curtain, and so we have no exact numbers of what has gone on in the past week. But all of the smuggled reports confirm one thing: a great many have been arrested, a great many have been killed. We know that we are dealing with crimes against innocent civilians on a massive scale.
But what can this Human Rights Council do? This body has no power to send boots on the ground. It has no physical power whatsoever. One is reminded of the famous story told about Joseph Stalin. On being warned that persecution of Catholics would anger the Pope, the Soviet dictator reportedly replied: “The Pope? And how many divisions does he have?” Continue reading ‘What This Council Can Do For the People of Burma’