UN hits bottom, digs: Rotten to its core, the United Nations Human Rights Council is about to turn Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi into some kind of human rights champion, while 6 falsely accused Bulgarian nurses rot in his jails since more than six years:
Gaddafi: World champion in human rights and racism
Libya is the sole candidate for the post of Chair of a United Nations anti-racism conference to be held in Geneva later this month, upsetting human rights groups who recalled the fatal consequences to the Commission on Human Rights when it chose Libya in 2003. According to diplomats, a meeting yesterday by the Human Rights Council’s five regional groups also named Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Russia as among the 15 bureau members who will oversee preparatory deliberations for a 2009 gathering to follow up on the controversial Durban conference of 2001.
Some human rights groups are expressing alarm at the conference leadership, which is to be voted in before the June 25 session. “Choosing Colonel Khaddafi to head a world anti-racism conference is like appointing a pyromaniac to be town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a human rights monitoring organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. “How can a regime that consistently ranks as one of the most notorious violators of human rightsâ€”a government that sentenced to death five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor only because they were foreigners and therefore easy scapegoatsâ€”be charged with promoting fundamental principles of human dignity and equality?”
The 2001 World Conference Against Racism that took place in Durban, South Africa, a few days before 9/11, was mired in controversy. The NGO Declaration said that Arabs were the victims of anti-Semitism and condemned Israel for its “brand of apartheid and other racist crimes against humanity.” During the conference, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson denounced the distribution of anti-Semitic cartoons by groups such as the Arab Lawyers’ Union. The United States and Israel walked out in the last days, with the conference described as a “festival of hate” by former Canadian Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler.
“With Khaddafi as Chairâ€”supported by the Wahhabist Saudi regime and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was condemned by the UN General Assembly this year for his regime’s discrimination against Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Bahai, Kurds and other minoritiesâ€”the UN is dangerously on course to repeat the mistakes of the past,” said Neuer.
UN Watch was founded by Morris B. Abram, a lawyer from Georgia who in the 1950’s became an early advocate in the civil rights campaign led by Martin Luther King, and later headed the United Negro College Fund. The Geneva-based NGO is currently headed by Alfred H. Moses, an advocate and former diplomat.
“The fight against racism is the defining human rights struggle of our time,” said Neuer, “and we cannot allow the sacred and universal goals of human dignity, tolerance and mutual understanding to be hijacked or defiled by the enemies of human rights.”
Gaddafi never paid the Lockerbie victims familiesÂ
Relatives of victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, are demanding that Congress withhold State Department funding that would help normalize relations with Libya until Tripoli fully compensates the families of the 270 killed.
“I have seen a lot of people who have suffered through this,” said Siobhan Mulroy, an East Northport woman who lost her father, a brother, a sister-in-law, an aunt, an uncle and a cousin. “We want them to be held to the promises they made.”
Relatives of the lost – at least 10 victims lived on Long Island, scores more lived elsewhere in the New York area and 35 were Syracuse University students – say the U.S. government should halt plans to normalize relations with Libya until that country makes the last installment of a promised $10 million to the families of each of the bombing victims.
The Bush administration has requested $115.9 million to build an embassy in Tripoli and an additional $1.15 million in aid it says will help normalize relations with a Libyan nation that had been implicated in terrorist activity for decades before 2003, when it accepted responsibility for Lockerbie and renounced its efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.
But by a unanimous vote last week, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to block the funds until President George W. Bush certifies Tripoli is complying with its agreement to compensate the families.
The spending package is expected to come for a vote before the full House later this month.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), a member of the committee whose Long Island district includes two relatives of bombing victims, said he pressed for the amendment because it appears Libya is shirking its responsibility.
He said the Libyans “have gotten what they wanted out of the deal, but these families have not gotten what they were promised.”