President Donald Trump has not found Washington to be easy going. Even the United Nations is against him. The UN, and I am not making this up, warns that cutting back government could violate “the right to social security of the people in the United States.”
Yeah. Big government now is a “human right” guaranteed by the UN. And some people wonder why the administration proposed cutting the organization’s funding by half.
President Trump has been working with Republicans in Congress to repeal Obamacare. That program nationalized Americans’ health care, eliminated the health insurance plans upon which millions of people relied, dramatically increased premiums for most other Americans, and made it even harder for younger people to buy insurance. Sounds like that legislation violated a lot of human rights.
But, no—and again, I am not making this up—the UN’s “Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health” (SROTROETTEOTHASOPAMH), Dainius Puras, sent the president an “urgent appeal” warning of the former’s “serious concern” about the impending violation of some Americans’ rights by reducing their health insurance coverage. You see, Puras explained, “there is a strong presumption that retrogressive measures taken in relation to the right to health are not permissible.”
In normal English, that means once government expands, it can never recede. That premise has been the gospel of American liberals for years. Now we find out the principle is an inviolable “human right”!
Mr. Puras instructed the president to ensure that “all necessary interim measures be taken to prevent the alleged violations.” Further, insisted the SROTROETTEOTHASOPAMH, the administration should provide “adequate measure to prevent their occurrence as well as to guarantee the accountability of any person responsible.” Does that include punishing voters who elected not only President Trump but the majority Republican Congress?
The UN letter was not formally made public, but leaked to a Washington Post columnist, who thought it a profound rebuke of the administration (wonder of wonders!). Puras asked the president to alert the public “to the potential implications of the above-mentioned allegations.”
The position that Mr. Puras occupies was created in 2002 and is responsible to the UN Human Rights Council. Among the body’s 47 members: China, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
All of these countries have tremendous health care systems. Well, maybe not: Even the New York Times was forced to criticize the catastrophe that masquerades as medical care in Venezuela.
But at least the countries are great exemplars of human rights in other ways. Well, China is cracking down on most things Western. Cuba has arrested more activists and persecuted more Christians since President Barack Obama visited. Saudi Arabia models Islamic intolerance in all its forms. Venezuela hosts a violent dictatorship which has impoverished its people.
While all these nations protect each other from scrutiny, the Human Rights Council vilifies Israel at every turn. In its view, Israel is a greater human rights violator than all other countries combined.
But the Council is not the only UN body drowning in unintended irony. The 45-member Commission on the Status of Women — is there a single issue for which a meaningless UN bureaucracy does not exist? — recently selected Saudi Arabia as a member. This auspicious panel, according to the UN, is to be involved in “promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
Saudi Arabia’s role is precisely what? It treats women like chattel. And has provided recruits and money to terrorists who have sold Christian and Yazidi women as sex slaves.
The UN bureaucracy spent years promoting the socialist “New International Economic Order,” which President Ronald Reagan battled. Even the best-sounding programs, like peacekeeping and refugee relief, are typically wasteful and usually abused. Corruption is a systemic problem.
On rare occasions UN officials do acknowledge the obvious. When asked how many people worked at the organization, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali once quipped: “about half.”
The UN mocks important values like human rights, then uses Americans’ hard-earned money to load inflated bureaucracies with over-paid political hacks and underwrites self-important guardians of humanity, such as the SROTROETTEOTHASOPAMH.
Unlike many members of the so-called Human Rights Council, the U.S. holds elections. The American people choose their government. If they believe Mr. Puras’ allegations of terrible rights violations are true, they will replace their leaders.
In the meantime, Congress should review Washington’s financial contribution to the UN. And the former real estate developer in the White House might have some ideas on how to better use the prestigious address of 405 East 42nd St. in New York City. After all, it comes with 18 acres of prime riverfront property.
Ken Blackwell is on the Policy Board of the American Civil Rights Union. He served as a former U.S. Ambassador to the UN and Senior Policy Advisor to the Trump transition team.