"....The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability....."
- UN Staff Union
Friday, November 5, 2010
U.N. Human Rights Council Takes Aim at New Target: United States
The United Nations Human Rights Council, a conclave of 47 nations that includes such notorious human rights violators as China, Cuba, Libya and Saudi Arabia, met in Geneva on Friday, to question the United States about its human rights failings.
It heard, among other things, that the U.S. discriminates against Muslims, that its police are barbaric and that it has been holding political prisoners behind bars for years.
Russia urged the U.S. to abolish the death penalty. Cuba and Iran called on Washington to close Guantanamo prison and investigate alleged torture by its troops abroad. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, told the U.S. it must better promote religious tolerance. Mexico complained that racial profiling had become a common practice in some U.S. states.
Some of these allegations, and many more, come from Americans themselves — especially from a stridently critical network of U.S. organizations whose input dominates the U.N. digest of submissions from “civil society” that are part of the council’s background reading.
For the first time ever, the U.S. came under the Human Rights Council’s microscope as part of the its centerpiece activity, the “Universal Periodic Review,” a rotating examination of the human rights failings and strong points of every country in the world, from North Korea to Norway, by the council's members.
For two hours, council members got to say whatever they wish, good and ill, about the country that has done the most in the past 40 years to establish human rights as a global theme.
The anticipation was that that ill-wishers were planning to pack the line to the speaker’s podium, with complaints from some Western human rights organizations that Cuba, Venezuela and Iran were seeking to “hijack” the microphone and stack the speaker’s list with U.S. critics. And it appears to some extent they did.
But what really is under review is the gamble by the Obama administration to join the council in the first place, rather than shun it in disdain, as the Bush administration did, along with its predecessor, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, because of its roster of despotic members and unbridled antagonism toward Israel.
The Universal Periodic Review, in which all countries great and small submit to human rights commentary by their peers, is supposed to help install the principle of observing human rights in the farthest reaches of the international community.
But it is also showing signs of becoming, in the U.S. case, a one-sided fiasco, along the lines of such previous toxic human rights extravaganzas as the U.N.’s 2001 “World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance,” and its 2006 follow-up, which turned into orgies of anti-Israeli posturing and helped to lead to the previous U.N. Human Rights Commission crackup.
So who is supposed to benefit from the U.S. submission to the UPR process?
According to Jim Kelly, director of international affairs for the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies and founder of a blog called Global Governance Watch, the main beneficiaries are likely to be the interest groups that take part in the exercise. “The fact is, they are demanding that the U.S. comply with rights that are already addressed by our own democratic system and laws,” he argues. “They are simply trying to get us to adopt U.N. standards instead of our own. It’s not as if by our participating in the human rights process Cuba is going to clean up its act.”
But according to the U.S. State Department, which led a delegation of high-level American diplomats and government officials to Geneva, the Periodic Review is a major opportunity for Washington to lead the rest of the world by example.
“Our taking the process seriously contributes to the universality” of the human rights process, one State Department official told Fox News. “It’s an important opportunity for us to showcase our willingness to expose ourselves in a transparent way” to human rights criticism.
“For us, upholding the process is very important.”
The same official, however, declared that the “most important” part of the process is “the dialogue with our own citizens.”
That was a reference to the important—and often harshly critical—role being played in the U.S. Universal Periodical Review by American human rights interest groups, or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), also known in U.N. parlance as “stakeholders.”
The Obama administration has gone to elaborate lengths to consult with such groups in advance of the Geneva meeting. The State Department, has led delegations from a variety of government departments (including Labor, Homeland Security, Education and Justice) to consult with such groups in Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Harlem, and Albuquerque, according to an official at State.
Those NGOs will also get a chance to “engage” with the U.S. delegation in Geneva at what the State Department calls a “first ever town hall meeting,” after the Human Rights Council, composed of national governments, makes its views known. “Many countries stack the room with NGOs that are government controlled,” the State Department official told Fox News, adding that the U.S. obviously doesn’t.
“We hope that the Periodic Review process will be one that sheds new light on issues,” the official added, including “what we learn from our own NGOs, which we take seriously.”
How seriously the NGOs should be taken is indeed, an important part of the question surrounding the human rights tableau in Geneva. For one thing, 103 submissions by those NGOS about U.S. human rights practices—very broadly defined—are already included in the official documentation of the Universal Periodic Review itself.
In that sense, their contents provide a kind of rough road map to the rhetoric that the U.S. may face in the days—and even years—ahead, because the Universal Periodic Review process will be repeated indefinitely into the future, and is supposed to analyze progress from session to session.
According to a dense summary of the submissions circulated by the U.N. in advance of Friday's meeting, the NGOs offering briefs for this Review run a familiar gamut from the American Bar Association and British-based Amnesty International to such specialized groups as the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.
They also include an array of submissions from college legal faculties and their advocacy offshoots; environmental coalitions; and a smattering of other non-American organizations such as the Federation of Cuban Women, based in the Castro dictatorship. (The women’s group objects on human rights grounds to the U.S. embargo against Cuba.)
Even relatively conservative and centrist organizations are represented in submissions by the Heritage Foundation, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, and the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty.
Yet despite their apparent diversity, many of the submissions, as summarized briefly in the U.N. document, point to a number of common themes:
--The U.S. needs to sign, ratify and implement a wide number of United Nations-sponsored human rights conventions, whatever reservations various U.S. governments or courts have had to them;
-- All these treaties and conventions should be “self-executing,” meaning that no subsequent U.S. government action should be required for them to go into effect—regardless of the U.S. constitutional separation of powers, and the separation of powers between federal and state governments;
--the U.S. should have national human rights institutions to coordinate and enforce human rights compliance;
--racial, economic and social disparities are still endemic in the U.S. despite its own civil rights laws, and need to be eliminated to meet “international standards” embodied in U.N. treaties. Amnesty International, for example, charges that “racial disparities continue to exist at every stage [U.S.] in the criminal justice system,” and calls for laws to bar “racial profiling in law enforcement.”
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, an offshoot of New York University’s law school, goes further, and argues that since 9/11, “the U.S. has institutionalized discriminatory profiling against members of Muslim, Arab, South Asian and Middle-Eastern communities.” The organization calls for federal laws against profiling “on all grounds, with no exceptions for national security and an in-depth audit of government databases/watchlists.”
--barbaric treatment of citizens by U.S. police is allegedly rife. Again according to Amnesty, U.S. police and custody officials “are rarely prosecuted for abuses,” prison conditions “remain harsh in many states,” and “electroshock weapons are widely used against individuals who do not pose a serious threat, including children, the elderly and people under the influence of drink or drugs.”
--U.S. social conditions are dismal. One submission claims, according to the U.N. summary, that 30% of the U.S. population “lacks an adequate income to meet basic needs,” while another notes that “there is an unequal access in the U.S. to basic amenities such as adequate food, shelter, work, healthcare and education. There is also a lack of affordable housing, job shortages and income insecurity, particularly among minorities and women.”
-- native peoples on American soil are badly neglected and need the protection of international treaties, and the U.S. treats immigrants and asylum-seekers badly. At least one organization recommends a ban on deporting indigenous peoples from anywhere in the Americas.
The sheer welter and volume of accusations, recriminations and prescriptions aimed at the U.S. that are embedded in the U.N. summary, however, obscures one important fact—an extraordinary number of them, Fox News has discovered, come from just a single source out of the 103 submissions cited in the U.N. document.
Indeed, no fewer than 60 of 162 footnote citations in the summary—37 percent of the entire total-- refer to a back-up document from a single organization, known as the U.S. Human Rights Network, or USHRN.
The 60 footnotes often cite other submissions as well, but no other organization contributing in the Human Rights Council summary comes close to USHRN as a source for accusations against U.S. behavior. (The energetic Amnesty International, by contrast, finishes in second place with just 23 footnote citations.)
Which raises the question: what, exactly, is the U.S. Human Rights Network?
According to its 423-page submission to the Geneva meeting—actually, 23 separate position papers bound together with a 15 page “overarching report,” or executive summary, USHRN was formed in 2003 as a “new model for U.S.-based human rights advocacy.”
Its intention is to “raise awareness of the human rights network within the broader social justice movement, to create linkages between traditional human rights and social justice organizations, and to facilitate sharing of information and resources among a broader network of activists.”
USHNR’s website is a little more specific: it is an agglomeration of nearly 300 activist organizations whose ultimate aim, “full U.S. compliance with universal human rights standards—will require the development of a broad-based, democratic movement that is dedicated to the long-term goal of transforming U.S. political culture.”
Funding for the network and its Geneva submission apparently comes from the Human Rights Fund, an umbrella group whose steering committee of philanthropies include the Ford Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Overbrook Foundation and an anonymous donor.
Among the network’s membership are some prominent and familiar organizations: the American Friends Service Committee, Fordham University Law Center, the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights.
But most of USHNR’s members are a hodge-podge of relatively unknown and local organizations, like the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle, the Progressive Action Alliance (“a group of progressives in the southeast Texas area”), the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and many more.
Some of them are also apparently non-American, like Rebuild Green, whose own website is entirely in German.
What they apparently share, according to their mammoth Human Rights Council submission, is a militant vision of the U.S. as a malignant force. “In the years since UNHRN’s inception,” the document declares, “constitutional protections for U.S. citizens and non-citizens have diminished, economic conditions for working and poor people in the U.S. have deteriorated, and repression has increased.”
Several of the position papers included in the submission are a lot more militant than that, and also seem to emerge from some radical left-wing time tunnel. One of the papers, entitled “Political Repression—Political Prisoners,” harks back to the 1970s to indict the FBI through Operation COINTELPRO for “maiming, murdering, false prosecutions and frame-ups, destruction and mayhem throughout the country.”
It cites the Feds for targeting such far-left organizations as the Puerto Rican Independence Front, the Black Panther Party, the Weather Underground, the American Indian Movement, the Black Liberation Army, as well as “peace activists and everyone in between,” and says that “many of today’s political prisoners” in the U.S. were jailed indefinitely as a result. That repression has increased, the paper argues since 9/11.
The political repression paper demands an “immediate criminal investigation into the conspiracy,” and also new trials for two now-aged left-wing activists jailed on murder charges, Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier.
The repression paper was authored by the National Conference of Black Lawyers and the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, neither of which are listed among USHRN’s member organizations. It is endorsed by a host of other organizations, however, including at least that is not only a USHRN member, but is also cited in the U.N. summary as the author of a separate submission to the Periodic Review. This seems to indicate that USHRN’s collective viewpoint is being augmented by other, nominally independent contributors to the Review.
Yet another position paper, on “The Continuum of Domestic Repression” in the U.S., asserts that “today, police still routinely make unfounded mass arrests and detentions to keep people off the streets and out of the eye of the media which tends to be accommodating.” It further condemns the use of high-security detention measures against terrorists such as Sayed Fahad Hashmi , a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen who pled guilty this year to conspiracy for providing support to Al Qaeda. Hashmi, the paper says, was held in high-security custody for three years. The paper says such treatment is “typical of how terrorism suspects are being treated in U.S. prisons and courts.”
The “Continuum” paper was submitted by the African American Institute for Policy Studies & Planning, the October 22 Coalition, and the Ida B. Wells Media Institute. None of them are listed on the USHRN website as member organizations.
However, an organization called the Afrikan Amerikan Institute for Policy Studies and Planning, Inc., which calls itself “a volunteer Grassroots, community based think tank created more than 10 years ago,” and is based in Greenville, South Carolina, claims on its website that the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, co-author of the other repression paper in the USHRN portfolio, is one of its projects. The Coordinator/President-CEO of the Afrikan Amerikan Institute is Efia Nwangaza, a onetime Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate.
On its website, the Oct. 22 Coalition gives its full name as “The October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.” According to its website, its birth “came out of conversations” among a group of radical activists, including a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Since 1996, the Coalition has organized national days of protest annually on its name day, and uses a post office box in New York’s East Village as a focal point for organizing. (The October 22 date, the website says, does not have a “significance in its own right.” The protesters wanted a day when “students would be back in school, and before the elections.”)
The USHRN position paper on U.S. labor relations, however, was submitted by much better-known mainstream organizations. Among them: the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the United Steelworkers and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). None are listed as USHRN members.
Among other things, the labor paper points to declining U.S. union membership as a function of discriminatory U.S. labor laws, including the National Labor Relations Act, and declares that “core internationally established labor rights are not adequately protected by state and federal laws that govern the American workplace” and adds that “workers have resorted to international fora to seek redress.”
It says that corporate harassment, threats, unlawful interrogations and retaliatory firings are “standard practice” in U.S. union organizing, and calls on the U.S. to obey “pertinent international instruments” to, among other things, adopt the Employee Free Choice Act, commonly known as “card check,” to ensure all workers get full federal and state labor law protection “regardless of migration status.” It also calls on U.S. governments give broader latitude to allowing public sector labor strikes.
The sheer expanse of the USHRN effort virtually guaranteed it would have a major impact on the U.N.’s summary documentation for the November 5 Periodic Review—and so, apparently, did the Network’s heavy participation in the State Department’s cross-country “consultations” in the lead-up to the review.
In an acknowledgement at the front of the document USHRN executive director Ajamu Baraka, lauds two of his workers for efforts across the country where they “continually held the State Department to its commitments even though corralling federal officials was not part of their job description.”
Baraka himself is no stranger to strenuous efforts on behalf of his causes. A onetime director of Amnesty International USA’s southern regional director and head of its anti-death penalty campaign, he has been described as “a veteran grassroots organizer with roots in the Black Liberation movement, anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.”
Personally hailed, according to various reports, by then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, as a human rights activist, Baraka was also listed in May 2000 as an attendee of the first U.N. preparatory committee meeting to lay the groundwork for the Durban World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. He apparently attended as a delegate of the World Peace Council, an organization created in the early days of the Cold War, and which now describes itself as “an anti-imperialist, democratic, independent and non-aligned international movement of mass action.”
637 UNDP Staffers are Millionaires, and another 1041 UNDP staffers have enough salary (income) to justify million dollar homes in New York (or tri-state area NY/NJ/CT).
UN/UNDP's budgets are untransparent !
U.N. budget is “utterly opaque, untransparent and completely in the shadow” and would benefit from being consolidated and audited from the outside. MMB from NyTimes
JOSE RAMOS HORTA - PRESIDENT OF EAST TIMOR
‘‘You know how many layers of bureaucracy there are when the European Union wants to help East Timor? Well, they don’t provide the funds to us, the funds allocated are managed by world bank. And the world bank has its own layers of bureaucracy. And they charge for that. The project is then managed by UNDP. But UNDP is only good at doing studies, they don’t execute projects.’‘
Boutros Boutros-Ghali on UN:
"perhaps half of the UN work force does nothing useful"
Can Helen Clark be trusted on Climate Change ?
President Obama's answer to Helen Clark's appeal for US to do more on climate change was : "I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused, on our economy and jobs and growth that ... if the message is somehow, we're going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don't think anybody's gonna go for that," he said. "I won't go for that."
In 2011 Rami Makhlouf - a trusted development partner of UNDP in Syria
In 2008 U.S. Treasury designation: Rami Makhluf Designated for Benefiting from Syrian Corruption (Click on photo to see US Treasury page)
"Screwed" How Foreign Countries Are Ripping America Off
A full chapter (7) dedicated to UNDP and UN Secretariat. But it today at Amazon.com (click above picture)
There was an error in this gadget
Asma al-Assad is UNDP's champion of reform in Syria
UNDP's special relations with dictators and terror is well documented. Yet, they continue to operate covered by UN Immunity. Click on immage for story.
Aicha Gaddafi You are Fired !
UNDP continues to be in bed with other dictators. Will clean it one at a time.
Where is NETAID money David Morrison?
UNDP Transparency Censored
UNDP's moto is: - eliminate the uncomfortable, frighten those who disagree, "educate" the perplexed..
UNDP Chief Finance Officer
The UNDP is a secretive organization and so far has kept in the dark every information related to its Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Assistant Administrator, Mr. Darshak Shah. Click on the picture for more on Finance Office of UNDP.
UNDP Belarus - best breast corner
Should tax-payers dollars be used to photograph beautiful breasts - even when making a valid point?
Uncle Helen turning UNDP into a cove of corrupt NZ labour politicians
CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE Chris Carter's latest Credit Card scandal - can he work at UNDP after that? It seems YES he is full tested!!
Helen Clark says: "No more cars"
Thinking about buying a new car this year? Why, you evil Westerner! You don’t need that. You are demanding your new car off the sweat, toil, and exploitation of the world’s poorest people in developing countries.
Eveline Herfkens belongs to Jail - she should return imemdiately Dutch Taxpayers money.
if anyone else would have done what Eveline Herfkens did, would have long been in jail. We denounce this impunity and demand justice.
Andrew Mitchell - says Helen Clark is up to no good!
1. UNDP’s partnership with the World Bank needs to be more effective, particularly in fragile and crisis-affected countries. 2. UNDP’s near universal mandate means its technical resources are spread very thinly. The Board does not provide strategic direction. HR management is weak. It has a weak results chain. 3. There is limited evidence of active senior management consideration of cost control. Country evidence points to mixed progress on demonstrating cost-efficiency. 4. The Executive Board is politicised and there is a lack of consensus on the key areas for reform. It is not clear that current plans for change will deliver the required depth and breadth of reform. 5. Evidence gathered at country level was highly critical of UNDP’s ability to deliver results. Its delivery can be undermined by staffing issues and bureaucratic processes. 6. Its performance in fragile states is mixed. It has reasonable training and a range of guidance and analytical tools but struggles to fill posts. 7. There is no evidence that the Climate Strategy was directly guiding resource allocation decisions
Mark Malloch Brown outraged over Aicha Gaddafi
“I hope she's not a UNDP Ambassador,” ...“I don't think it's UNDP. I was surprised when I saw that... she was an Ambassador to any part of the UN system.”
Travel Palestine - Rediscover Your Senses
Get ready to a sensual feast of ...sounds...scents of The Land of حماس Ḥamās Documentary sponsored by UNDP Funds (click on picture for video)
Helen Clark on UNDP's own corruption (Can she be trusted?)
“When funds intended for life-saving treatment and prevention are stolen, that theft is tantamount to murder.” CLICK ON PICTURE FOR MORE
Scandal in Rwanda with Human Development Report
Aurelien Agbenonci, UNDP's RR in Kigali accuses Khalid Malik of making up data without UNDP Rwanda's knowledge. Rwanda Government is unhappy !!!
H.E. Dirk Niebel - German Development Minister
"I take the accusations made in the media concerning corruption and breach of fiduciary duty at the Global Fund very seriously and I am sure that the Fund will clarify the matter without delay. Germany is one of the biggest donors to the Global Fund. I have therefore seen to it that a special review will be held. I have frozen all further disbursements to the Fund until matters have been fully clarified, and I will ask a representative of the Fund to come to the BMZ to discuss the matter."
US Amb. Joseph Torsella blows the whistle on UN budgets
U.N. Secretariat’s proposed $5.2 “regular” budget for 2012-2013, was “simply loosening our belt a little less than we originally planned.”
The U.N. Exposed
How the United Nations Sabotages America's Security and Fails the World (Click in picture to purchase the book)
Share now information about illegal dealings at United Nations
If you are in possession of UNDP or any other United Nations Agency' contracts, correspondence, financial records or databases, which you believe detail wrongdoing such as fraud, mismanagement and abuse of authority, and you have failed to have UN's internal control, oversight and justice systems respond and/or react to your claims, you can send them to UNDP-WATCH and we will make them public keeping your identity anonymous and confidential.
Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Clark is watching you!
Gaddafi aint got nothing on UNDP - Click on the picture for more!
Malakia: A Turk advises Greece on Economy
Kemal Dervis (Turkish) and George Papandreou (Greek) share many late-night phone calls together (Click on picture to read story)
Where does Ban stand on Libya?
C'est vraiment ce que tu veux pour ta carriere?
United Nations Dispute Tribunal finds Ethics Office decisions Appealable
Because UNDT is the first level of the UN’s two-tiered justice system, there is a possibility that this decision may be appealed. Hopefully, the Secretary-General will not be “absurd” enough to do so. Click above to go to GAP page.
Andrew Mitchell Demands Transparency from United Nations
And I promise you as well that in future, when it comes to international development, we will want to see hard evidence of the impact your money makes. Not just dense and impenetrable budget lines but clear evidence of real effect
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT UNITED NATIONS
Ban Ki Moon supports Ethics Decision on UNDP North Korea
Question: He recommends strongly that UNDP pays 14 months back pay to the whistleblower. Does the Secretary-General stand behind that recommendation? Should UNDP in fact pay that money, or are they free to rebuff that recommendation? Spokesperson: We will see what is going to happen. The Secretary-General of course is behind Mr. Benson on his report. There is no doubt about it. What UNDP will do, we will be seeing this; how they will implement that report.
UNDP Watch is a grouping of United Nations Staff committed to openness. We believe that everyone has the right to access information held by United Nations.
Despite a stated commitment to openness, UNDP remain a highly secretive agency.
Although a wealth of information is available on some UNDP websites, its Executive Board operate behind closed doors, much important programme and administrative information is never made available and, as a rule, information that is disclosed is provided only after relevant decisions have effectively been taken.
While UNDP has adopted “internal policies” on information disclosure, they in fact operate on precisely the opposite presumption. For the most part, they list which documents will be disclosed and when, and there is a presumption against the disclosure of all the other information they hold. They do not establish right of access, the lists of documents subject to disclosure is limited, they do not set out clear and narrow grounds for refusing access and they do not provide for independent oversight mechanisms to ensure proper implementation of the policy.
The UNDP WATCH is calling for the complete overhaul of these policies.
"...We believe that without accountability, there is impunity. We ask that you (Secretary General) not be complicit in cover-up of what happened prior to 11 Dec attack. The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability."