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Alan Elsner

Alan Elsner

Posted: February 23, 2011 03:03 PM

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's murderous assault on his own people has exposed once again the United Nation's hypocrisy, double-standards and total lack of credibility when dealing with international human rights.

The U.N. Security Council, the most important U.N. body, said nothing at all during the upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain -- apparently because veto-wielding China and Russia objected. While failing to address these historic and sometimes violent events, the Council did find time last week to debate yet another condemnation of Israeli settlements, which was vetoed by the United States.

This week, with the Libyan death toll mounting alarmingly, the Council came together around a presidential statement -- not a resolution -- condemning the violence. (A statement by the president of the Council is far less important and carries less weight than a formal resolution.)

This particular statement was particularly spineless considering the dire circumstances. It included no call for an investigation into the violence, similar to the one the Council set up last year after Israel intercepted a Turkish flotilla on its way to break an embargo of Gaza -- an incident in which nine people were killed.

The Security Council's blatant double standard pales into insignificance when compared to the shenanigans at the U.N. Human Rights Council.

First, we should note that Libya is a member of this 47-nation body, elected last year with 155 votes from the 192-member U.N. General Assembly. This was before the current slaughter obviously, but even then the world knew that Gadhafi was no paragon of human rights. He has presided over a one-man dictatorship since seizing power in 1969 and he has been a notorious sponsor of international terrorism for decades.

The 2006 U.N. resolution establishing the Council stipulated that "members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights." Just by electing Gadhafi's Libya, the Council lost any right to be taken seriously.

When last year's flotilla incident happened, the U.N. Human Rights Council was all over it, launching its own separate investigation and ultimately issuing a 56-page report accusing Israel of violating human rights and international humanitarian law. That was for the death of nine people.

With the Libyan death toll estimated at anywhere between 200 and 1,000 and threatening to rise further as the cornered tyrant unleashes whatever forces and mercenaries he still has at his disposal in his desperate attempts to stay in power, the U.N. Human Rights Council was in no rush to meet.

It has scheduled a session on Friday, but with most Asian and African nations, backed by Russia, China and Cuba, refusing to support a draft resolution condemning the violence, the meeting is likely to produce little or nothing concrete.

The Council has not even moved to expel Libya as a member. By failing to do so, this body has shown the whole world that it has no moral standing. The sooner it is abolished the better.

 

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