Ron Silver takes on the UN
Natan Sharansky, former Soviet political prisoner who immigrated to Israel: Something is deeply wrong with this organization — it's refusal to recognize the difference between free societies and fear societies.On human rights:
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), whose family fled Cuba when she was a child: The United Nations sees no distinction. Every country is as equal as any other, even if they enslave their people, even if they prosecute people who speak their minds, even if they allow no political dissent — you have an equal place at the table because we're all sovereign countries.
Silver: When created in 1946, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and its universal declaration were historic pronouncements of the expected rights and freedoms for men and women in all member countries. Today, however, the commission includes some of the world's worst human rights abusers.On Israel:
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, the largest U.S.-based human rights organization: We have been very outspoken about the commission's limitations. Today, roughly half of the state members of the commission are there not to promote human rights but to undermine the work of the commission, to try to defend themselves and others of their ilk.
Silver: Cuba has long been criticized for political repression by human rights activists. Despite this, it was reelected to the commission in 2003. Shortly afterward, Castro jailed 75 pro-democracy activists. Some were sentenced to up to 28 years in prison. Their only crime was speaking out against the government.
Silver: In Sudan, executions, detentions without trial and slavery are daily occurrences. Yet the Human Rights Commission has targeted one country with one out of every four resolutions — Israel.On Rwanda:
Roth: I think it's to the great shame of the commission that it has not devoted anywhere near as serious attention to either the suicide bombers launched by Palestinians or to the severe repression that takes place in many Arab states surrounding Israel.
Silver: In 1974, the U.N. invited Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat to speak to the General Assembly. It marked a turning point for the U.N.—and for its relationship with Israel. Arafat's organization had been recently involved in international terrorism — most notably at the Munich Olympics, where the PLO faction Black September slaughtered 11 Israeli athletes.
Gold: Arafat is not asked to renounce terrorism as a precondition. He walked in with his kaffiyeh, with his sidearm underneath his coat, and addressed the General Assembly. The most interesting thing Arafat says in that speech is, "If this was the original U.N. of 1945, I would not have been invited here. But obviously this is 1974. It's a different U.N."
Silver: Hutus and Tutsis have a long history of conflict in Central Africa. But in 1993, the Arusha peace accords promised an end to the fighting. The U.N. Security Council sent 2,500 military personnel to Rwanda in a "Chapter 6" mission to aid the peace process. The U.N. force commander was Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire.The transcript certainly tells a lot (though I'll have to note that the part about Bosnia in the latter part is still in question), and I should hope that the actual documentary will be even more hard-hitting. It'll probably be shown at the next Liberty Film Festival in California, I'm betting.
Dallaire: A Chapter 6 mission means you are there because both sides want peace. We are there as a referee, and we assist both sides in making sure that they play by the rules.
Silver: Dallaire soon learned that there were Hutu extremists who wanted to undermine the peace process. On Jan. 11, 1994, Dallaire sent a fax to the U.N. headquarters in New York, requesting permission to raid a Hutu arms cache.
Ken Cain, former U.N. legal affairs worker now critical of the organization: Dallaire was aware that a genocide was being planned and many vulnerable civilians were going to be killed.
Silver: Dallaire received a reply the same day from the desk of Kofi Annan, then head of U.N. peacekeeping. Dallaire was told not to raid the arms cache and, furthermore, to avoid any course of action that might lead to the use of force.
Hat tip: Betsy's Page.
Labels: UN corruption