The People of Egypt Were Abandoned By the U.N. For 30 Years

By Anne Bayesfsky, FOX NEWS

There is one main reason why the Obama administration misjudged Egypt entirely – they cannot get their facts straight. For the last two years they have been busy defending the U.N. as an effective vehicle for promoting U.S. interests, in the name of engagement.

But for the three decades of Hosni Mubarak’s reign, the U.N. has dedicated its human rights apparatus to demonizing the state of Israel and ignoring the human rights victims in Egypt and across the Arab world. As dissatisfaction and unrest have grown in the region over his presidency, the Obama administration failed to recognize the U.N.’s gross negligence or to take responsibility for ensuring an alternative vehicle to promote democracy. Instead, it legitimized the U.N.’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council (HRC), by joining it.

Notwithstanding the meltdown in Egypt, Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs picked Tuesday to give her evidence for the success of the Obama foreign policy of engagement with the U.N. and its human rights world.

At a speech to the Brookings Institution she said: “Since the United States joined the Human Rights Council, it has not held a single special session on Israel.” Except that the U.S. took its seat on the Council September 14, 2009, and the Council held its sixth special session on Israel on October 15-16, 2009. It was a rather unforgettable session, actually, since it was the occasion the Council endorsed the notorious Goldstone report.

It is a mystery why the person in charge of international organizations in this country has no clue what the actual record is of the Council, but here is a short synopsis for her edification:

There have been twelve country-specific special sessions of the Human Rights Council in its history. Half of them have been directed at Israel alone. Half of all the resolutions and decisions of the Human Rights Council critical of a specific states’ human rights record have been about Israel alone, and half on the rest of the world. There are ten permanent agenda items of the Council which govern all of its business. One of those items is only about condemning Israel and one is about any other “human rights situation that requires the Council’s attention” elsewhere on the planet. Ten countries were once subject to a specific human rights investigation, but the Council discontinued them for the likes of Belarus, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Maldives, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Now consider the U.N.’s record on Egypt and what it has meant for any hope of a peaceful and realistic transition to democracy. There has never been a single resolution of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Egypt, the Council having been in operation since 2006. Not a single resolution on human rights in Egypt was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the Council’s predecessor in operation from 1946- 2006. Neither the Commission, nor the Council, ever appointed an investigator to report specifically on human rights violations in Egypt.

On the contrary, Egypt was a welcome and powerful member of the U.N. human rights apparatus. It was a member of the U.N. Human Rights Commission for almost half of its half-century in operation, and a member of the Council until just last year.

Moreover, after joining the Council, the Obama administration’s first major act was to boost Egypt’s human rights bona fides. In September 2009 it chose Egypt as its partner to produce a resolution on freedom of expression and then included references to “special duties and responsibilities” on the exercise of free speech and “voluntary codes of ethical conduct” on the media. State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh heralded the new “universal understanding of freedom of expression.” Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Democracy and Labor Michael Posner cooed: “our effort with the government of Egypt…at the Council is emblematic of a new kind of an approach, new kind of alliances, a new level of engagement and participation.”

It is not difficult to figure out why the people of Egypt had nowhere else to go. The U.N. human rights authorities devoted their time, attention and (American taxpayer resources) to attacking Israel and enabling Egypt, while the Obama administration spent its capital claiming Jews living on any Arab-claimed land were the key obstacle to Middle East peace and stability.

The Egyptian people were abandoned by the U.N. They were left to their own devices by an Obama administration mired in pro-U.N. rhetoric and basing its judgment about the efficacy of the institution on ill-informed advisors. Today, we are all paying the price for that neglect and ignorance.

February 3, 2011 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Corrupt, bumbling attention is slavered on any hot spot that could affect the flow of oil. That is the reason Israel got the attention it did and that is why Egypt is getting it now. Note that Tunsia – not part of the oil routes – got and is getting almost no attention. Wet blankets are being flung on Egypt, but there will be none left for other smoldering places that are ready to burst into flames – Jordan, Yemen. Lebanon can go to hell until it shows that it has oil reserves. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in Algeria, but public attention was not mobilized to stop any of the killing – not enough oil. Every move is self-serving, so it is illogical to ask why one place was targeted and one place ignored. The Suez Canal and the oil pipeline in Egypt guarantee it lots of attention. Re-direct the oil pipeline through Jordan and Israel and then the Egyptian democracy seekers will be eaten for dinner without a glance from the West and the Suez Canal will be internationalized again by guess who – the UN. Maybe then the Egyptians will turn to Israel as a paradigm for their survival. Oh, forget it. I was just dreaming!

    Note that Israel has been getting marginally better press since it now has the possibility of producing oil and gas for export. Things will improve for Israel even more when the export market begins to function.

  2. What civilized country would pay attention to an organization in which underdeveloped African and Muslim countries are the majority? All Israeli wars stemmed from Arab refusals to observe UN resolutions, and UN refusals to enforce them. The game of obedience to the UN is lopsided against Israel.

    The UN is a bunch of tribal chiefs, petty dictators, and other barbarians. Why pay them any attention? Did some conference of Near East kingdoms restrain Rome? Did the Africans restrain the British Empire? UN decisions are practical only when they concur with the balance of power, so consider the balance of power and recognize that the UN is an irrelevant mob.

    Since borders are a graphic representation of the power equilibrium. Israel should grab as much land as we can and forget the UN.

  3. Ted,

    Anne’s piece is a well-put, easy, concise read. I recommend it. It doesn’t just explain the Egyptian situation: It explains all world politics since 1948.

  4. Is there really any point any more in posing the UN as having any legitimate concerns for human rights of any kind any more? Look at Serbia and Rwanda. Just more lies and dereliction. Persecuting the innocent in the interests of the guilty. In Serbia we see UN protected aggressors were farming Serbian prisoners to extract them of their tissue and sell it on the medical transplant market. Finally, after a report from the Council of Europe, the UN is reluctantly making gestures, trying to look like it might look into what happened.

    Were the Egyption people really abandoned by the UN? More like they were being put on hold for the day they would be applied to advance the cause of Islam in the Middle East as it is being advanced in Europe.