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Reform in the UN...

...is meaningless. The old UN Human Rights Commission has been replaced by the new and 'reformed' Human Rights Council. The fact that Iran sent a known human rights abuser to be their representative was a bad sign, but now the Council has met for two weeks we can see just how similar to the old corrupt Commision they are:

The widespread misrepresentation of the Council made its self-immolation in its first two weeks of operation even more striking. The Human Rights Council is the UN's lead human rights body, and examples of egregious human rights violations should not have been hard to find.

In Darfur, there are three quarters of a million people beyond humanitarian reach, 2.5 million people displaced by the violence, 385,000 people in immediate risk of starvation, and over two million dead in 22 years of violence and deprivation.

But it wasn't genocide in Sudan that interested the Human Rights Council. Nor was it a billion Chinese without civil and political rights. Not 13 million women in Saudi Arabia whose lives depend on hiding from sight in public places and never being caught behind the wheel of an automobile.

Not the dire human rights conditions of 23 million people in North Korea. Not Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's incitement to genocide or his country's legal system, which includes crucifixion, stoning and amputation.

No, there was only one country singled out by the UN Human Rights Council, and that was Israel.

The Council decided that the program for the first session should focus discussion on five issues; the first one being the "human rights situation in the occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine." (The rest were "support for the Abuja Peace Agreement," and three thematic subjects.) The Council placed criticism of Israel permanently on the agenda of all future sessions. It gave only the special investigator on Israel what amounted to a permanent mandate. On its final day, the Council passed just one resolution condemning human rights violations by any of the 192 UN members, and directed it at Israel. When it was all over, the Council decided to hold its first special (emergency) session within the next few days - on Israel.

You'd think that with everyone watching, and with so much being made of the 'fresh start' that the Council was going to provide, they'd try a little harder to take their role seriously. But no; they can't help themselves. It's all they know.

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