U.N. Leaders: Wrong on Rights

Posted: Jun 24, 2008 12:01 AM
U.N. Leaders: Wrong on Rights

You know you’re doing a good job if you upset the right people -- such as petty bureaucrats at the United Nations.

Recently, an online publication reported that UN Television had purchased six high-definition video cameras, but couldn’t use them because it had failed to purchase lenses for them. Worse, Inner City Press reported, the U.N. building isn’t even wired for such cameras.

When a reporter went to question the woman in charge of UN Television, she startled him with a question of her own: “Do you work for The Heritage Foundation?”

Well, no. But those of us who do work at Heritage appreciate the back-handed compliment. It shows that the agency is well (if not painfully) aware of our work, which has exposed countless examples of waste, fraud and abuse at the U.N. over the years. Why do we do it? Because it’s American tax dollars being squandered by U.N. mismanagement.

The problems don’t stop with incompetence. Take the case of Nicaraguan Reverend Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, who was elected the next president of the U.N. General Assembly. He may have risen to power in 2008, but his ideas seem stuck in the 1960s.

D’Escoto has called the United States “the greatest enemy of the right of self-determination of peoples” and has declared Americans to be “the most ignorant people around the world.” Strong words from a man who served as foreign minister during the Sandinista dictatorship of Daniel Ortega in the 1980s.

Ironically, it’s D’Escoto’s homeland and his soon-to-be employer that increasingly block freedom and democracy.

“Nicaragua is rapidly emerging as a key friend and an ally of some of the most odious regimes on the face of the earth,” observes Nile Gardiner, director of Heritage’s Thatcher Center, and Ray Walser, Heritage’s expert on Latin America. Gardiner and Walser document Nicaragua’s ties with Iran and Venezuela, two nations that adamantly oppose American interests: “The presence of one of its key political figures at the head of the U.N. General Assembly is a demonstration of the organization’s callous disregard for the principles of liberty and freedom on the world stage.”

Amazingly, even as the U.N. wastes money by the bucketload and puts unrepentant leftists into positions of power, it wants to spend even more money on an investigation of supposed human-rights abuses -- in the U.S.

In May, Doudou Diene, the U.N. special rapporteur charged with investigating “racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” came to our shores. His record as an investigator isn’t promising.

He’s managed to find what he calls “institutionalized racism” in many Western countries, including Japan, Canada, Denmark and Switzerland. Little doubt he’ll report finding it here as well. Meanwhile, Diene has said little about real human-rights abusers in dictatorial states ranging from Africa through the Middle East and on into the rest of Asia.

Diene’s report is certain to be a sad joke, not unlike his employer, the U.N. Human Rights Council. China, Russia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- all human rights abusers to one extent or another -- are all proud members of the HRC. How nice for them to steal the spotlight away from their very real sins and train it on a trumped-up “report” decrying the U.S. as a human-rights ogre.

In the halls of the U.N., the United States is frequently portrayed as a bad global citizen. In the real world, nothing could be further from the truth. We provide some 22 percent of the funding for the U.N., money that is often then used to criticize us.

It’s time for the United Nations to turn its investigators loose on itself, to identify and eliminate the abuses that have come to define the world body. Hopefully they’ll do that soon -- and with some cameras that actually work.