U.S. to account to U.N. for human rights

Here’s a wild dream come true: The United States – America! – is accounting to the United Nations on human rights.

“On Aug. 20, the U.S. submitted to the Office of the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights a report on the U.S. human rights record, in accordance with the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process,” the State Department reported in an Aug. 24 release.

All Human Rights Commission participating nations are required to conduct internal studies and reviews of their individual civil rights efforts, and present those findings to the Human Rights Council for comment and recommendation. The U.S. will present its review to the Council in November.

Gee, hopefully, we’ll pass.

Council members include representatives from China, Cuba and other countries with questionable human rights records themselves. It’s for this reason – the hypocrisy of America being graded on civil rights by nations with abhorrent civil rights records – that the George W. Bush Administration abstained from participating in the Council. The Obama White House, it seems, doesn’t hold the same qualms.

So come November, the United States will face a three-hour question-answer session that allows Council members to recommend improvements in the area of human rights. Following, a group of three Council members, the “troika of rapporteurs,” in U.N-speak, will produce a report of this review for our nation’s leaders – the same leaders, remember, who agreed to participate in this global exercise in the first place – to consider and debate. The troika for the U.S. presentation in November is comprised of officials from Cameroon, France and Japan.

“The national government can accept or decline to implement any of the recommendations resulting from the review, and must inform the troika of its decisions,” the State Department reports. That’s a relief, at least. The U.N. still gives permission for the U.S. to set internal policy.

The State Department, of course, puts a happy face on this review and puts forth that it’s an excellent opportunity for the U.S. to show other nations how civil rights should be done. But that’s spin.

America leads the world in the upholding of human rights – indisputably – and it’s both offensive and condescending to seek the advice and approval of other nations with subpar civil rights histories. Our only participation in this review process should be as teacher.

Bay Area News

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