Today countries such as Cuba, Venezuala and Iran, more than half of them in the developing world, are lining up to take part in the first U.N. Human Rights Council assessment of the United States’ human rights record. In a three hour open examination representatives of these countries will participate in a universal periodic review (UPR) in Geneva Switzerland of the United States record on human rights. Others high up on the list of 85 countries include Russia, North Korea, Egypt, China and Libya, all countries that are regularly criticized by the U.S. – and by human rights advocacy groups around the world – for poor human rights records.
According to the U.S. State Departments website the review will cover the nation’s human rights record on such important freedoms as the freedoms of speech, of association, and of belief. It also examines a range of challenges, including issues of discrimination and topics related to civil liberties in the context of national security.
Undoubtedly, Arizona’s own SB1070 will be the main punching bag of the this circus. Arizona’s attempt at controlling illegal immigration is already viewed by many around the world as a law created to violate the human rights of its “citizens” and to allow Arizona law enforcement to make illegal arrests and detentions. The current administration and the State Department are encouraging this review and have in essence stated that they are looking forward to what the world community has to say, especially when it comes to SB1070.
The U.S. has been the largest financial supporter of the world’s largest debating society since the organization’s founding in 1945. The U.S. is currently assessed 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget and more than 27 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. In dollar terms, the Administration’s budget for FY 2011 requested $516.3 million for the U.N. regular budget and more than $2.182 billion for the peacekeeping budget. Considering budget trends, U.S. contributions will continue to rise. Having an accurate account of U.S. contributions to the U.N. is valuable, particularly considering recent revelations about institutional weaknesses in U.N. oversight.
Congress should take action to make the current OMB reporting requirement permanent. Its good to see that hard earned American tax dollars are going to such noble endevors. Robert Welch the founder of the John Birch Society once said it best, “Lets get the United States out of the UN and the UN out of the United States”.