Archive for the 'U.S.' Category

Dictatorships blast U.S. human rights record at U.N. review

Some of the world’s worst regimes blasted America’s human rights record at a review session held by the UN Human Rights Council yesterday. Every one of the UN’s 193 member states is obliged to undergo the drilling by its peers once every four years.

Sudan took the floor to say it was “concerned about the situation of the human rights in the United States of America,” and it urged Washington “to eliminate any form of racial discrimination” and “to bring its legislation and laws in line with human rights obligations.”

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The UN Committee Against Torture Reviews The US

Many contentious issues were raised at the examination of the United States by the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) on November 13–14, as rapporteurs and committee members considered the United States adherence to the said convention.

Ambassador Keith Harper, the US representative to United Nations Human Rights Council initiated the US presentation by explaining how torture violates human rights and US law. Harper continued, that while under the Bush administration boundaries had been crossed, President Obama had made great strides to ensure that no form of torture, or violation of human rights would occur on US soil. Similarly, neither would the US transfer a detainee to a location in which there was the possibility of them experiencing inappropriate treatment. David Bitcall, deputy assistant of the criminal department of the Department of Justice explained that there was rigorous restructuring and reform to ensure that police officers as well as soldiers alike conducted themselves according to the army manual and discrepancies would be and were frequently punished. For example, over the past 5 years, 330 police officers have been reprimanded for misconduct on the job and this reform is only increasing. Bitcall further explained the rational regarding why the US do not use any forms of torture, which he concluded, was an ineffective tactic used to gain information.

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UN Human Rights Funding: Your Tax Dollars at Work?

In 2012, leading democracies contributed tens of millions of dollars to the UN human rights system, through funding allocated from the general budget and additional voluntary contributions given by each country to the Office of the  High Commissioner for Human Rights:
United States: $31,273,996
United Kingdom: $11,708,747
Germany: $13,277,191
France: $7,806,841
Italy: $4,193,394
Netherlands: $13,727,350
Canada: $7,572,973
European Commission: $7,152,139

(Source: OHCHR Report 2012)

While some of these funds are well spent on UN mandates that legitimately speak out for victims of torture or repression, according to an internal UN chart entitled “Financial implications of recent HRC resolutions by type of mandate” — publicized here for the first time — millions of dollars are being wasted by the UN human rights system to fund questionable mandates that either have no connection to individual human rights or, worse, are designed by countries such as Cuba as political mechanisms to attack democracies:

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