Thomas P. Kilgannon
Last week, UN Ambassador John Bolton cast a lonely ballot when he voted against the creation of the United Nation's new Human Rights Council. In so doing, he expressed the belief of the Bush administration that the UN can do a better job of promoting human rights than it has in recent years when, for example, it allowed Libya – a state sponsor of terrorism – to set the international human rights agenda.

"We must not let history remember us as the architects of a Council that was a 'compromise' and merely 'the best we could do' rather than one that ensured doing all we could do to promote human rights," Bolton said.

But the administration's belief that the UN can do better is rooted more in optimism than in reality. The concept of excellence is one with which most UN bureaucrats are not familiar. If the institution were to undergo an extreme makeover – as it is in the process of doing under the title "UN Reform," – it might rise from failure to mediocrity. That was evident when the General Assembly voted 170-4 last week to brush aside American concerns about poor huddled masses yearning to be free, and engaged in diplomatic drivel which resulted in little more than a name change of a failed and disgraced human rights institution.

The day began at the United Nations as it often does – with the Venezuelan and Cuban delegations seeking recognition to denounce the United States. When they were finished with their anti-American rants, the member states voted to create the new Human Rights Council which was empowered to work "towards the prevention of human rights violations and respond promptly to human rights emergencies." But such declarations are laughable from an institution which can not even recognize that genocide is taking place under its nose in Darfur, Sudan.

The Council, we are told, will "make recommendations with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights." But the only country that has drawn the ire of UN human rights inspectors of late is the United States. In February, the UN issued a scathing report about how poorly prisoners were being treated by U.S. military personnel at the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. What is interesting to note is that the "inspectors" who wrote the report never bothered to visit Gitmo. They undoubtedly obtained their "facts" from Air America.


Thomas P. Kilgannon

Thomas P. Kilgannon is the president of Freedom Freedom Alliance and the author of Diplomatic Divorce: Why America Should End Its Love Affair with the United Nations.

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