The U.N. Human Rights Commission (HRC) has long been a scandal. Some of the worst human rights offenders, such as Sudan, Libya and Saudi Arabia, have participated as members, and at times as the HRC chair. These offenders not only use their membership to protect each other from condemnation, but also to attack the U.S. and Israel. David Rivkin and Lee Casey provide a more detailed discussion of these defects. As they note, “the only effective way to ensure that states with the worst human rights records are not permitted to serve on the HRC is to establish some strong membership eligibility criteria.”
Yesterday, the U.N., hoping to improve its image, adopted HRC reform. To no one’s surprise, the reform is largely cosmetic. It does not establish strong membership eligibility criteria; indeed, it provides no reason to believe that the worst human rights offenders will be barred from membership. John Bolton, who is proving to be one of President Bush’s best appointees, led a valiant fight against the new HRC. However, he had virtually no followers.
As the subtitle of Jed Babbin’s excellent book says, the United Nations is worse than you think.