Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: The fox is in the henhouse

By Lee Long-hwa

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan proudly announced the formation of the new Human Rights Council. Sadly, it is a joke. Like its predecessor, the equally useless Commission on Human Rights, the new council also has members who are among the worst human rights offenders in the world, namely China and Cuba. What possible sense does that make?

Can you guess the agenda of the organization? "First, let's talk about Guantanamo." Let's talk about the alleged abuse of dozens of terrorists, and cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed, not about Islamist terrorism against hundreds of millions, or Beijing's repression of press freedom and religious freedom for billions. Never mind talking about Tibet, Taiwan, Falun Gong, free speech, freedom of religion and democracy -- or any other basic civil rights for what amounts to one-sixth of the world population. Since the council starts off so inauspiciously, how can it ever garner any respect?

How can China, best pal of such human rights offenders and tryrannical regimes as North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and a host of others sit on this panel? How can this panel do its job if it does not look seriously at the blatant human rights violations going on in China every single day? How can the council think of talking about how the US treats (or mistreats) a few hundred prisoners, but not talk about how the Beijing government treats (or mistreats) more than 1 billion people?

The answer is simple. Because the council, like its predecessor and the UN itself, is nothing more than an impotent, politically correct and useless organization incapable of fulfilling its basic mission of bringing freedom to the oppressed. Doing so takes guts and determination, two things lacking in the council and the UN should be taken to task for it.

Giving Cuba and China seats on the council renders it a joke. There are probably enough countries in the world who are willing to overlook China's evil tyranny over its people to garner some goodwill with Beijing. Shame on those who lacked the will to stand up to China's blackmail, or those who were stupid or insipid enough to think having China on the council is a good idea. For them, I say "thanks" for once again reminding us all that the UN is a shamelessly political and impotent tool, particularly when the fate of the chickens is left up to the fox.

Lee Long-hwa

New York

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