UN Human Rights Council election: The real truth
The United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) consists of 47 member
nations elected periodically by ballot. It was established in 2006 to
replace the discredited Lois Arbour, the High Commissioner and the High
Commission establishment of the United Nations.
A delegate in the General Assembly casts his ballot during the
election of 15 members of the United Nations Human Rights
Council on May 21 in New York. Picture courtesy: UN Multimedia
USA Ambassador Mr. Bolton, many organisations and experts at the UN
were critical on Louis Arbour, the High Commissioner and the Commission
on Human Rights being ineffective and inefficient. Only few regular
sessions were held during the deliberations of the Council since its
existence from 2006. There were many criticisms on the Council too of
partiality and inefficiency. Abuses in Israel and several hundreds of
incidents and cases were discussed.
Most of the important matters were not taken up at deliberations and
many member nations were critical of the conduct of the Council. The US
chose not to take part in elections of the Human Rights Council to give
credibility to an inefficient and ineffectual organisation.
This indicates the position of the Council in the eyes of the senior
and powerful members of the organisation. The resolution that created
the Human Rights Council established no hard criteria for membership
other than quota for regional groups.
The ageing UN
The United Nations is an organisation of nations, established 60
years ago replacing the “League Nations” which the members lost faith
on. The ageing and weak UN is funded by member states based on the
income and the main contributor is the United Sates of America, which
has direct and indirect control over the affairs of the organisation.
Five world powers are at the apex body consisting of the USA, UK,
France, Russia and China. Like any other organisation there are external
and internal politics at the election of office bearers. It is always
the favourite of the USA that will be elected as the Chief Executive -
the Secretary General. Today the UN is an outdated and ineffectual
organisation of states. It is a toothless union of nations dominated by
few rich states with different agendas.
The mandate of the Human Rights Council is generally to protect,
preserve, promote and maintain human rights situation in the globe.
Though they speak of international standards, the definition is vague
and unclear on “international standards on human rights”. It has not
been able to live up to the mandate and expectations due to inherent
defects and the working arrangements.
Members are elected by quota and not based on merits. The General
Assembly has resolved under resolution 60/251, as follows:
“The member states seeks election shall uphold the highest standards
in the protection and promotion of human rights and fully cooperate with
the Council in the promotion and protection of human rights”.
However, the states elected are not necessarily states with a good
tract record on human rights. The states elected over Sri Lanka maintain
a poor record and “institutionally” in violation of individual and
collective human rights based on so called international standards.
Pakistan always had a military rule and a bad human rights record.
True she is our close friend and helps each other but the state of human
rights today in Pakistan is lower than that of Sri Lank and India.
Those against Sri Lanka has forgotten that India and Sri Lanka are
the two model democracies in the entire
Asia enjoying 60 years of individual and collective human rights by
the people. We are grateful for India for having supported us at the
election against the vociferous anti-Sri Lankan lobby by our own
opposition and international and certain local “Fat Cat” NGOs.
It is Sri Lanka and our foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama who was
mainly instrumental in bringing Pakistan back to the Commonwealth. The
Commonwealth Organisation expelled Pakistan mainly for sacking Supreme
Court Judges and Musharaff’s forcible taking over the elected government
by a coup denying people of basic human rights.
However, the Muslim lobby with a large vote-base is rich and
powerful. The situation has still not changed. Bahrain is predominately
a rich Muslim state ruled by Muslim law. They have different definitions
on human rights based on Muslim law, which is different from UN concepts
based on the Christian human rights concepts.
Japan is one of the richest countries helping other nations
financially and otherwise including Sri Lanka. Obviously other states,
especially the developing nations are under obligation to Japan. The
Secretary-General of the United Nations is from Korea, which is today a
rich and a powerful country in every respect with a poor human rights
record according to the United Nations documents itself.
Britain though boasts of and claming the benchmark on human rights
has a poor record as a result of recent anti terror and anti immigrant
legislation. The Prevention of Terrorist Act is on and Gorden Brown has
introduced anti- terror legislation at the expense of accepted human
rights laws and jurisprudence.
It is a world power and a founder member of the United Nations
Organisation. She took only 120 votes, which are only 19 votes over Sri
We are not finding excuses of our non election, but pointing out the
international realities in international politics also governed by the
law of the jungle - the survival of the fittest in the world family of
Sri Lanka had an uphill task during the campaign for re-election to
the Council due to adverse publicity and vigorous opposition by LTTE
front organisations and their influence worldwide. There were many
misrepresentations and adverse propaganda mainly by local politicians
and NGOs led by two powerful “Fat Cats” sitting on a mountain of
Dollars, Pounds and Euros.
Paul Tighe said during the campaign, “Sri Lanka lost a bid for second
term on the United Nations Human Rights Council after charges it is
failing to prevent abuses in its conflict with Tamils fighting for a
separate homeland in the South Asian Island”.
This indicates to what extent the powerful LTTE front organisations
and supporters misled the international community despite the fact that
USA itself has declared the LTTE as the most powerful and brutal
terrorist organisation in the globe. Minister Samarasinge has correctly
pointed that the “Nobel” trio has not studied the brief properly and
spoken based on misleading propaganda.
They should have the common curtsey to make inquires either from the
Minister concerned or the foreign mission before leveling any
accusations to an innocent nation. This indicates the sorry state of
Bribery, corruption, undue influence and all forms of illegal and
unfair methods are used in this campaign as in any other election
NGOs are accepted in the UN system as the United Nations Organisation
itself is a non-Governmental organisation consisting of member states.
The funds allocated to NGOs by the UN are colossal which is being shared
by few international and local NGOs. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jimmy
Carter and Adelfo Perez Esquivel are heads of main NGOs heavily funded
by the UN system.
Preys of INGOs
The Jimmy Carter Foundation is one of the richest NGOs with enormous
sums of money to spend and it have further resources and international
disputes to attract more and more funds. Sri Lanka and affected nations
are preys of these “International NGO Hyenas” looking for suitable preys
Dishonest NGOs are jubilant and overjoyed on the Sri Lankan issue and
other major disasters in the world which are money-spinners as 80 to 90
percent of the funds allocated to most NGOs are utilised for
administrative and other expenses.
Out of trillions of funds allocated for Tsunami victims how much
really went to the hands of actual victims who are still suffering. The
real victims received only a fraction of the funds allocated. Sri Lankan
NGOs are the most powerful, privileged and richest leading luxury lives
drawing billions of funds by way of salaries and other perks.
Jimmy Carter said in his campaign against Sri Lanka that the “Council
should be led by countries with a greater commitment of human rights”
though Sri Lanka maintains the highest standards in every respect. Sri
Lanka opposition should be ashamed of their conduct tarnishing our own
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has performed an excellent job during
the campaign with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to meet the adverse
and incorrect propaganda against the nation by interested groups. It was
an uphill task to fight them single-handed as President Rajapaksa said
at the celebrated speech at Oxford that Sri Lanka is successfully
fighting the most powerful and brutal terrorists in the world single
His speech was fantastic, to the point, clear and natural and won the
hearts and minds of the world community. This writer being a political
animal and a student of politics has closely followed speeches of world
leaders including Thatcher, Major, Smith, Blair, Gorbachev and many
others in the United Kingdom over the past two decades.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech at Oxford was definitely clear
and better than that of most leaders. Blair always speaks with a script
and always looks down to the script often.
Mahinda’s presentation was natural, impromptu and effective. We need
more and more such international exposures and speeches as an eye-opener
to the international community in order to help the Sri Lankan lobby.
Let us be honest about our inability to be elected to the Commission
for the second time. Instead Japan (155), Bahrain (142), Korea (139) and
Pakistan (114) were elected, while we received 101, which is sufficient
to be eligible for membership. Unfortunately the constitutional
allocation for Asia was only for four and we could not get a place in
Really we should and could have been elected and it would have been
good if we were in the Council because for some reason we wanted to be
in it, even though the membership makes a little difference to us.
USA objected to the formation and appointment of the Council and
members and declined to contest or take part at deliberations saying
that it is not worth taking part and give credibility to an ineffective
and inefficient body.
There is major propaganda that we have lost the world - and the
international goodwill. All this is a part of the propaganda for a
future investment in the Human Right Industry in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a senior member of the world community and shall
continue to be so despite the ferocious Tiger lobby worldwide, which is
now fading away. Our tract record and the mechanism is fine and of high
international standards. We have the Human Rights Commission - an
effective body, which is not even found in the United Kingdom.
We have ratified almost all the international human rights
conventions. Our soldiers are one of the best and disciplined in the
world. Recently an American soldier was punished in Iraq for using the
Quran as a target at a shooting training session. Rape, Child abuse
misuse of power of soldiers in Iraq is rampant.
Our solders are angles compared to them. The only trouble is our
propaganda mechanism and foreign missions are not keeping pace with the
required standards and challenges. We have no option but to work harder
to win the war on terror and propaganda.
We should also not underestimate their financial strength and power
internationally and locally. They throw money on local politicians even
during and for election campaigns. Some of the Fat Cat NGO leaders in
Sri Lanka have taken part in de-stabilisation and coups in other
countries. They have landed in Sri Lanka as it is an easy and a
Attractive funds will attract TV programmers and reporters worldwide
for certain projects on anti-Sri Lanka or otherwise. If one spends
around 100,000 pounds a good documentary will be produced for the LTTE.
If one donates around 50,000 pounds to a university, an academic will
prepare a good academic presentation or a book with the help of the
students for any anti-government propaganda.
This shows how money speaks. These are secrets of the LTTE’s success
and there are ways for them to extract funds legally and otherwise. The
President and the two energetic Ministers need support from the
missions, and the expatriate community to work against a part of the
misguided world community and a part of the expatriate community,
funding and supporting the LTTE and its front organisations.
All the foreign missions should initiate a new and innovative program
and it is time the two Ministers who are in the forefront and the
international limelight to assist the campaign against terror and
promote our image.