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UN Human Rights Commission: The serial-abusers club

Editorial | The Miami Herald

28.01.05 | Just get rid of the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Otherwise, it would have to be renamed the Human-Rights Serial Abusers Commission, and why spend U.N. funding (much of it U.S. tax dollars) to give despots and police states a platform from which to desecrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Sadly, the U.N. committee has become a pathetic joke. The latest example: Cuba, China and Zimbabwe are among the five members chosen by their regions to serve on an ''action panel'' that will be the gatekeeper for this year's U.N commission session, which begins in March. The panel will evaluate and decide what human-rights abuse complaints against which countries will be investigated by the U.N. commission.

Certainly these three countries are practiced enough in human-rights violations to know one when they see it. China's totalitarian government has written the book on wiping out dissent. Zimbabwe has been criticized by the African Union and sanctioned by the European Union for its human-rights record. Cuba, of course, only two years ago slapped 75 activists with prison sentences of up to 28 years for crimes such as publishing articles abroad, loaning out banned books and defending human rights; it has been condemned by the U.N. human-rights commission 11 times in the last 12 years and has never allowed a U.N. monitor onto the island.

How could their regions choose these human-rights rogues to set the commission agenda? Six of the 11 Latin American nations that picked Cuba -- Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru -- even voted at the commission last year to condemn Cuba for its human-rights abuses. Do they think that making nice to a megalomaniac dictator will stop further abuses? Or do they only want Cuba to stop messing in their internal affairs? Why not end the U.N. human-rights charade altogether? Put the commission out of its misery.

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