In Geneva this week, any pretense of utility or fairness that clung to the United Nations Human Rights Council finally evaporated. By a decisive margin, the Council voted to end its examination of Iran and Uzbekistan despite worsening human rights records in both countries. Japan, South Korea, and Brazil were surprising votes in favor of the free passes; they had been supported more predictably by Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Azerbaijan.
The sad irony is, the Council was actually conceived as an alternative to the now-defunct Human Rights Committee, which had been widely condemned for doing exactly what the new Council is doing now. The United States had been a leading advocate for reform, but refused to sit on the Council at its inception, fearing that it would degenerate into a talking shop that would aid and abet the worst violators.
That position is looking pretty prescient now. The Council has condemned Israel 8 times, but refused to pass judgment on even a single other regime. Regional bloc cover for their own, while tyrants point to the shortcomings of democracies to hide the fact that they aren’t even trying. All of which just goes to show the inherent weakness of a body that treats all of its members as formal equals in judging matters in which they manifestly are not.
Well, no – as far as jokes go, it’s not funny at all. But at least they passed that whole “global test” thing.