Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A badge of honor 

This is a good one from the New York Times:

Six nations with poor human rights records were among those elected to the new Human Rights Council on Tuesday, although notorious violators that had belonged to the predecessor Human Rights Commission did not succeed in winning places in the new group.

China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, countries cited by human rights groups as not deserving membership, were among the 47 nations elected to the council. But in a move hailed by the same groups, both Iran and Venezuela failed to attract the needed votes.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said: "The good news is that we did better than expected in the voting because Iran and Venezuela both lost. Venezuela's losing shows that bluster and anti-Americanism isn't enough to get elected."

So let me get this straight, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan get elected to a human rights council (try not to get hurt laughing) and Venezuela doesn't - and the head of Human Rights Watch thinks this is good?!?!? Out of the group that made it only one country has anything aproximating free elections (quick trivia question - when was the last time China, Cuba or Saudi Arabia had free elctions?). In Saudi Arabia you offend the wrong people and you get beheaded. In Cuba you offend the wrong people and you get shot. In China make the mistake of getting pregnant one too many times and you get an obligatory visit to the nearest abortion clinc.

In Venezuela you can vote for whomever you want, say whatever you want, openly criticize the government, travel freely, and have as many kids as you want yet somehow our esteemed friends at the Times, and maybe Human Rights Watch too, think they are a "notorious violator" of human rights. What this really shows is it isn't your human rights records that counts - if that were the case Venezuela would be one of the first to make this council. Rather, its who likes you, and even more importantly, who doesn't like you. Whats more, if this typifies the views of Human Rights Watch I guess we know what their reports and opinion must be worth - not much.

I'm sure the Venezuelan government is a little miffed at not having been chosen. After all if they bothered to put themselves foward for this they must have wanted it. But hopefully they'll get over it quickly. After all, considering who DID get selected for this council it's a badge of honor NOT to have been selected.


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