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Tue Jul 10, 2012, 01:12 PM

 

Syria: UN's Newest Champion of Human Rights

News of Syria's candidacy broke after UN Watch discovered that Syria was vying for a seat from a US-sponsored and EU-backed draft resolution, debated last week in Geneva. The resolution sought to pre-empt Syria's candidacy by declaring it ineligible on the basis that it "fails to meet the standards for Council membership" as set forth in its founding charter.

According to Hillel Neuer, the Executive Director of UN Watch, no sooner was the draft resolution submitted, than it was met with immediate resistance by Syria's allies and fellow human rights abusers on the Council, including Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt -- all of whom were "totally opposed."

These nations may well have deduced that if a human rights violator such as Assad could be declared ineligible, they could be next.

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3156/syria-un-human-rights

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Response to shira (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 01:18 PM

1. Fellow human rights abusers on the Council, including Russia, China, Cuba ?

Get a life.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #1)

Fri Jul 20, 2012, 08:50 PM

3. Yeah, they're big time tyrannical human rights violators. n/t

 

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Response to shira (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 01:29 PM

2. Council membership criteria: 1) invaded a country under false pretenses; 2) have nuclear weapons;

3) assassinated foreign leaders and scientists; 4) tortured prisoners. Geez, we're eligible for membership on the Human Rights Council, as is Israel.

We're #1! They're #2!

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Response to leveymg (Reply #2)

Fri Jul 20, 2012, 08:50 PM

4. You don't have a problem with Cuba, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and China on the UNHRC? n/t

 

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Response to shira (Reply #4)

Fri Jul 20, 2012, 09:45 PM

5. I have different issues with each of them, shira, and one in common with all:

they, the US, Israel are all human rights violators.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 21, 2012, 10:54 AM

6. You don't know the difference b/w free/open societies and closed, do you?

 

Like the ability to criticize, citizenry votes to change policy, separation of powers, etc?

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Response to shira (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 21, 2012, 01:01 PM

7. I know the differences and the similarities. I also know that I have preferences,

but I don't confuse any particular self-descriptive form of gov't with actual democracy. No matter what they call themselves, all societies are run by power elites. That's true of the US, the UK, China, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

I am an American who prefers western-style structural democratic norms -- voting, separation of powers, etc. -- but, I also know that functionally, this is not a truly open society - truly open societies have been few, only brief interludes following the collapse of old regimes. In the US, UK, and most other western countries, today, the gulf between the rhetoric of consent of the governed, individual rights, accountability, and the reality of the actual control of corporate elites over virtually all major institutions and decisionmaking is increasingly obvious. Really important decisions aren't made by voters, and they aren't made in the open. If you truly believe it to be otherwise, you haven't been in or near a position of power. I have been close enough -- having worked on the Floor of the NY Stock Exchange, on Capitol Hill, and for a major DC law firm -- to know.

All states tolerate and accommodate criticism, particularly from the inside. They do because they have to. The west has learned the wisdom of tolerating some open display of dissent -- it is a useful pressure relief valve, and a way of identifying dissidents -- but in reality, those who criticize from the below and outside are largely ignored or closely monitored. Those who press from below more forcefully are always repressed. The most skillful repression becomes routine, the kind that the public is conditioned to ignore or accept as a civic duty. East Germany was particularly effective at making repression seem a civic duty.

State leaders that fail to display and employ violence effectively when challenged are eventually replaced, usually under pressure from above and abroad. But, open violence is a sign of a breakdown of control. More than anything else, power is more normally maintained by routines and rituals, spectacles and feast days serve to distract the public, reform is usually coopted by officially approved organizations, and various "soft" forms of control discourage, sidetrack and frustrate political challengers before they become viable movements for real change.

In no society today does government allow the citizenry to "change policy" - that is always mediated by elites who occupy decision-making positions that are not answerable to the public. Some systems are more effective than others maintaining the appearance of openness. While public figures may be replaced, or parties alternate in power, economic and political institutions and policy don't fundamentally change. In times of reduced excess resources, as we see in the US and UK today, the rhetoric of democratic change masks increasingly thorough and intrusive forms of mass surveillance and police state intimidation.

Personally, I prefer the traditional forms and institutions of my own country and have fondness for it, but acknowledge that it is not uniquely virtuous or democratic, and it is not truly an open society. America also abuses human rights, and has for a long time. The fundamental similarities in the way that power operates around the world is greater than the differences.

I will grant that small differences sometimes seem to be the most important.

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Response to shira (Original post)

Sat Jul 21, 2012, 11:15 PM

8. I'd like to know why the "gatestone institute" is being allowed

 

Looking at their main page, they feature several articles by Soeren Kern, a well known "right-winger," whose articles have been published in places like Front Page Magazine (owned by David Horowitz).

Are right-wing sites allowed so long as they're pro-Israel?

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