Thursday, March 31, 2005

Human Rights is in the eye of the beholder.

I saw this from AP just a little while ago. "U.S. Denies U.N. Claim Iraqis Malnourished."

"The U.S. human rights delegation Thursday rejected a U.N. monitor's claim that child malnutrition had risen in Iraq and said, if anything, health conditions have improved since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. First, he has not been to Iraq, and second, he is wrong," said Kevin E. Moley, U.S. ambassador to U.N. organizations in Geneva and a member of the American delegation to the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission.

"He's taking some information that is in itself difficult to validate and juxtaposing his own views — which are widely known," Moley said, referring to Ziegler's opposition to the U.S. military intervention in the country. "

It's intersting the news piece questions the views of the U.N. Human Right Commission's expert on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, but not ambassador Moley's.

It think we can safley assume ambassador Moley was fully behind the invasion of Iraq.

The fact is, the data brought up by Ziegler is already old news.

Last November an article in the WaPo laid out the facts:

"BAGHDAD -- Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.

After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program.

The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein. The surveys suggest the silent human cost being paid across a country convulsed by instability and mismanagement. While attacks by insurgents have grown more violent and more frequent, deteriorating basic services take lives that many Iraqis said they had expected to improve under American stewardship."

Moley vows to protect Geneva conventions in Iraq! ( No, really!)

It's fairly well established that the occupying power is responsible for law and order and the well being of the civilian population. Regardless of whether the insurgency is making the feeding of children more difficult, it is still up to the U.S. as the invader and occupying force to ensure that Iraqi children don't starve.

At a press conference on 4/24/03 at the U.N., ambassador Moley seemed a little bent out of shape that U.N. Secretary Annan had questioned the U.S. commitment to the Geneva Conventions, which includes the treatment of civilian populations as well as POWs.

AMBASSADOR MOLEY "We want to give you the U.S. reaction to Secretary General Annan's speech and there are a couple of things that we want to specifically comment upon. In the third paragraph of the speech which I think you all have a copy of there is a comment or a statement by the Secretary General "I hope the Coalition will set an example by making clear that they intend to act strictly within the rules set down by the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations regarding the treatment of prisoners of war." We have not only made that clear by our words, more importantly we have made that clear from day one of this conflict through our actions, and quite frankly we find it odd at best that the Secretary General would feel that he had to bring this to our attention.

QUESTION: You said earlier that you have made it clear from day one that you would respect the Geneva Conventions, the Hague etc, but a couple of weeks ago when (NAME INAUDIBLE) was asked questions at Central Command in Doha about the issue of occupying power, the response was, well we are not at that stage yet, it's a liberating force.

MOLEY: You have mixed metaphors there. You asked me about the Geneva Convention and the Hague and I would reply as I did earlier, we have been fully, fully in conformity and intend to be since day one, not only by virtue of our words, but by virtue of our actions on the ground that demonstrate that. [Abu Ghraib!] QUESTION: So there is no separate occupying or liberating force category?

MOLEY: We are simply saying that the issue of an occupying power has not yet been dealt with. Once again the situation is still quite fluid. We will come to that, and presumably come to it quickly. But there should be no question -- certainly no question in the mind of the Secretary General -- that we need to make any clearer than we already have, and have been on the record repeatedly as being in conformance and wanting to be in conformance in every way with the Geneva Conventions. "

Well, you can certainly take that pledge to the bank. Since this press conference, the U.S. has been a model for other countries to emulate when it comes to human rights and the treatment of prisoners of war.

Bashing the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

I found it interesting the AP story spent more time accusing other countries of gross human rights violations rather than focusing on the actual issue of starving Iraqi children, which was the headline of the story.

"The U.S. delegation said it hoped the U.N.commission will...focus on the world's worst human rights violators. It said it planned to lodge resolutions asking the commission to condemn abuses by two such countries, Cuba and Belarus. Former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, who is chairing the American delegation, said such countries should also be ineligible to sit on the commission. "The commission must be made up of firefighters, not of arsonists," he said.

Rather than serving as the proper international forum for identifying and publicly censuring the world's most egregious human rights violators, the (commission) instead protects abusers, enabling them to sit in judgment on democratic states that honor and respect the rule of law," said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House's executive director. [Does that include the U.S.?]

Other members of the commission include countries that Freedom House classifies as "not free," including Bhutan, Egypt, Guinea, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Swaziland and Togo."

Don't we give $2 billion to Egypt every year?

Wasn't Togo a member of the coalition of the willing? Isn't Qatar where our U.S. Central Command is?

Isn't Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan, our good friend who we're selling F-16s to?

Isn't Vladimir Putin of Russia the man president Bush sees eye to eye with?

Very strange.

And which country is Cuba occupying?

Oh right, Guantanamo is in Cuba, that must be it!


Anonymous Glen M. said...

What, do you want FreedomHouse to reclassify Egypt and Russia and Pakistan as "Free", just becuase the world and the US is trying to help them?

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you trying to say that it is wrong that most of the world does business with "not free" countries? maybe it is wrong. but i really don't understand your logic, if you have any. i know you want to convince us that the U.S. is the worst country ever, but you shouldn't belittle attempts to clean up the coalitions of human rights. the worst of the worst countries have made a mockery of the UN commision, and for some reason you do not want to change the horrible status quo towards something more credible.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Scott Speedman said...

Look, those countries that have the worst records of human rights should NOT continue to remain on and influence the United Nations Human Rights Commission. America is not perfect, but nations that promote slavery do not have a right to tell America how bad it is.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous Obiwancanblomi said...

{sarcasm} no, nobody anywhere can have anything to do with anybody that is not listed as free by freedom house! how dare we! {/sarcasm}

bushmeister0 ends up espousing isolationism on our part, and by default economic and political santions on most of the third world, AND, at the same time he illogicaly trys to say that cuba or egypt or russia is evil, and anybody that has anything to do with them is evil also, therefore we are evil. i hope nobody falls for that twisted logic.

5:00 AM  

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