Thanks to "Prairie Editor" Barry Casselman, my source for all things Minnesota (and more), for forwarding former Senator Rudy Boschwitz' newsletter from Geneva, two weeks into the 61st session of the UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Boschwitz (whom I once met, courtesy of Barry, and watched throw a playful snowball at a stop sign) is the head of the U.S. delegation to the CHR. Much of his newsletter expresses anger and discouragement at the sorry performance of the Commission, its dubious composition and its tepid condemnation of murderous malfeasance:
In the 60th Session (last year) we couldn't even get a strong resolution passed condemning Sudan where an estimated 280,000-300,000 deaths and 2,000,000 displacements have occurred in the Darfur region . . . . The very mischievous Europeans, the Africans, plus countries that abuse human rights banded together and supported a very weak "decision." "Decisions" are by definition weaker than "resolutions." Remember that the CHR has 53 members. The vote for the weak Decision on Sudan in 2004 was 50 For, 1 Against, and 2 Abstentions. The U.S. was the 1 against. Sudan is genocide. We felt a weak "decision" out of the CHR was a travesty. . . .
Freedom House, a respected American NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), publishes a thick annual report rating and describing every one of the world nations. Each nation is rated in two ways, Political Rights and Civil Liberties, on a 1-7 scale (1 being the best). The two ratings are then averaged. A country with a rating average of 1.0-2.5 is considered "Free." A rating average of 3.0 - 5.0 is "Partly Free." A rating average of 5.5 - 7.0 is "Not Free." The 53 members of the CHR broke down this way: 22 Free; 16 Partly Free; and 15 Not Free. . . . [This] spells trouble for Human Rights!!
(I looked up Freedom House's ratings. Both the U.S. and the U.K. get a top rating of "1" on both Political Rights and Civil Liberties. I imagine leftists will say this is sucking up. Well, double ones also go to -- among others -- Chile, Dominica, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and . . . Kiribati?!)
Boschwitz ends his newsletter, though, with a simple and stunning piece of good news:
Ending on a High Note - -
For many years now a totally disproportionate amount of time at the UN has been spent bashing Israel. In an early speech I made here in Geneva, I asked delegations to recognize and support the changes taking place in the Mideast by moderating their remarks. For whatever reason that's what happened. Last year, speeches bashing Israel took 2 days. This year they totaled 30 minutes!
The Palestinian delegate gave a stunning "speech," the best and shortest of the many at this session of the CHR to date. His speech in its entirety was: "We extend our hand to our Israeli neighbors to live in peace." I went over and congratulated him.