Scenes from the UN Human Rights Council...
Here's what happened just in the last week...
o Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki called for the elimination of “the illegitimate Zionist regime” and support for “the legitimate resistance . . . of Hamas.” He also declared that “in accordance with its Constitution . . . Iran makes every effort to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.” That would be the same constitution that allows stoning, amputation, and the murder of homosexuals for the crime of existing.
o Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission chairman, Bandar bin Mohammed al-Aban, told those assembled at the Council that “the kingdom continues a consistent policy of promoting and consolidating principles of justice and equality among all members of society.” He didn’t mention that last week another Saudi woman was arrested for being behind the wheel of a car.
o The Egyptian minister for legal and parliamentary councils, Mufid Shehab, said it was paramount that “freedom of expression should not lead to abuse of religions and religious standpoints. . . . Societies should be obliged to punish acts of free expression when they damage the rights of others. . . . Opinions cannot be expressed freely if this affects . . . religious sensibilities.”
o Cuba’s justice minister, Maria Esther Reus González, ranted about U.S. “plans for global domination,” “wars of pillage and conquest,” and “twenty long years . . . of blockade and aggression.” (A Council decision of 2006 takes Cuba’s human-rights record permanently off the table.)
o Sudan’s justice minister, Abdel Daiem Zumrawi, gave an account of his country’s positive “endeavors in Darfur” — also known as genocide. He told the U.S. “to increase [its] contribution to a peaceful solution by exercising pressure on all of the armed groups” — excluding the government of Sudan.
o The “Palestine Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,” Ahmad Soboh, spoke warmly of “the outstanding progress” of the Human Rights Council as compared with the Commission. Over 40 years, 30 percent of all the country condemnations made by the Commission were directed at Israel. The Council has already directed over 50 percent of all condemnations at Israel.
o China’s representative, Li Saodong, made a nice speech about China’s “democracy” and “democratic institutions” and its “continued policy of ethnic equality . . . to protect religious [and] cultural identities, and heritage” — which of course would be news to the Dalai Lama and other Tibetans. He then called for states to “engage in dialogue and cooperation.” Sound familiar?