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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 9, 2005 / 2 Sivan, 5765

Reforming panel true test of U.N.

By Jonathan Gurwitz


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | To understand the systemic problems plaguing the United Nations, one need only look at the composition and actions of the Human Rights Commission that in April concluded its 61st session in Geneva.

Among the 53 arbiters that presided in Switzerland were China, Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, nations regularly cited by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as among the worst violators of human rights.

This year, China, Cuba and Zimbabwe served on the five-member Working Group on Situations, a gatekeeper committee that determines which human rights complaints are worthy of consideration by the full commission. With leadership like this, it seems the United Nation's guiding lights have confused expertise in abusing human rights with the commitment to protect them.

The commission did manage to mete out largely symbolic resolutions about the deplorable human rights situations in Nepal and Sudan, the first country so small as to carry no diplomatic reverberations, the other's genocidal actions so huge that despite friends in high places it could not entirely be ignored.

Beyond those two cases, however, it was authoritarian business as usual. Amnesty International's Geneva representative issued a statement saying, "The selectivity and double standards that characterize the commission's approach to addressing country situations, however, have once again shielded from scrutiny and condemnation serious widespread human rights violations in many other countries."

The problem that plagues the Human Rights Commission cripples nearly every U.N. body: Namely, that all nations — irrespective of their form of government, the welfare of their peoples or the threats they pose to their neighbors — are considered equals. In the mathematical system of the United Nations, Cuba equals the United States, Zimbabwe equals Great Britain, and Israel is a greater threat to the international order than North Korea, Iran and Sudan combined.

An internal U.N. report issued earlier this year to Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized the Human Rights Commission for its "eroding credibility and professionalism."

Addressing the body in April, Annan himself said, "We have reached a point at which the commission's declining credibility has cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system."

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Annan has proposed a smaller Human Rights Council to replace the Human Rights Commission, one composed of members that meet accepted standards of human rights conduct. To accomplish this, he has proposed that a two-thirds majority of the 191-nation General Assembly, rather than a simple majority of the 54-member Economic and Social Council, elect its members.

Annan, of course, has his own problems, with the secretariat mired in scandal and the investigation of oil-for-food corruption boring perilously close to his own office.

On mending the Human Rights Commission, however, Annan is half-right and totally blind. Of course, a Human Rights Commission or Council should exclude human rights abusers from its membership. But handing the election of members to the General Assembly, where U.N. mathematics prevails, does nothing to achieve this.

Critics see the United Nations as a sinister international bureaucracy from which nothing good can issue. Impassioned advocates consider it a sort of superparliament of nations that can fairly well legislate out of existence violence, disease and poverty. In between are pragmatists who condemn the organization's very great, deeply embedded flaws yet still recognize some important roles it can and should play in a troubled world.

Annan has charged world leaders with settling on a broad-ranging U.N. reform package in advance of an international summit this September. No better test exists of the international community's resolve to reform the United Nations than in its ability to disband the profligate Human Rights Commission and create a successor credibly committed to upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.Comment by clicking here.

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© 2005, Jonathan Gurwitz

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