Jewish World Review Feb. 2, 2005 / 23 Shevat, 5765
The United Nations turns a blind eye to its founding principles, yet again
The United Nations has become a largely irrelevant, if not
positively destructive institution, and the just-released U.N. report on the
atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, proves the point. After months of study, the
U.N.'s Commission of Inquiry on Darfur this week issued its report to
Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In typical U.N. double-speak, the commission
found that the Sudanese government, run by radical Islamist Arabs in the
North, is responsible for "crimes under international law" in the systematic
rape and murder of tens of thousands of blacks who live in the southern part
of the country. Yet the commission concluded that the government "has not
pursued a policy of genocide."
If the organized killing of 70,000 black Sudanese in the name of
Arabification of a majority black nation does not constitute genocide, what
does? Arabs have methodically raped thousands of black women and displaced
some 1.8 million blacks in an effort to dilute Sudan's black population or
eliminate it altogether.
For all but 10 years since Sudan gained independence from Great
Britain in 1956, Sudan has been involved in bloody civil wars that have
killed over 2 million people and displaced 4 million. Radical Islamists,
mostly drawn from the country's minority Arab population, have killed or
driven out black animists and Christians in a series of genocidal campaigns.
Yet, the U.N. as it has in virtually every genocidal bloodbath that has
occurred anywhere in the world since its founding in 1946 remains stymied
from intervening in any meaningful way.
The U.N. did nothing when the murderous Khmer Rouge began piling
up more than a million corpses in the killing fields of Cambodia in the
mid-1970s. The U.N. did nothing when Hutus slaughtered nearly a million
Tutsis in Rwanda in barely 100 days in 1994. The U.N. sat idly by when
Serbians began wiping out ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1998, a genocide
that was interrupted only when NATO under the leadership of the United
The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of World War II,
just as the world was beginning to learn the full horrors of history's worst
genocide, the Holocaust that consumed 6 million Jews and 3 million others in
Europe. One of the U.N.'s first acts was to pass a Genocide Convention in
1948, which defined genocide "as acts committed with the intent to destroy,
in whole or in part, a national, [ethnic], racial, or religious group. . .
." But despite condemning genocide, the U.N. failed to enact mechanisms to
stop genocide while it is occurring.
Given the politics of the U.N., in which countries often act in
regional or interest-based voting blocks, censuring much less stopping
genocidal activity becomes nearly impossible. Arab and Muslim nations
constitute one of the largest and most powerful voting blocks within the
U.N., and these countries are loath to criticize their co-ethnics and
co-religionists, especially for crimes against non-Arabs or non-Muslims.
In November, the U.N. General Assembly rejected for the third
time a resolution that would have condemned human rights violations in
Sudan, with 91 of the 191 member nations voting against the resolution.
Gerald Scott, a U.S. delegate to the General Assembly's committee on social,
cultural and humanitarian affairs, said at the time that "three consecutive
failures of member states of the United Nations to present a unified front
against well-documented atrocities [represents] nothing less than the
complete breakdown of the U.N.'s deliberative bodies related to human
rights. If these bodies cannot speak with one voice on an issue as clear as
Darfur, what can they do?"
Precisely. The U.N.'s response to the genocide in Darfur has
been to claim it isn't taking place and for its African members to give
Sudan a seat as their representative on the Human Rights Commission in 2004.
But rather than acknowledge the U.N.'s hypocrisy, count on the largely
left-leaning human rights organizations to react to this latest U.N. outrage
by criticizing the United States. Already Human Rights Watch has condemned
the U.S. for not being eager to turn over the prosecution of war crimes in
Darfur to the International Criminal Court, a quasi-U.N. body whose
jurisdiction the United States does not recognize. The problem is not the
United States but the United Nations.
Editor's note: Linda Chavez served as U.S. expert to the United Nations'
subcommission on human rights from 1992-1996.
JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)