maelorin: (Default)

Is it ironic, or just shameful, that our Government makes decisions like this without regard for public opinion, while accusing the very institutions that keep check on the use and abuse of power that keeps us a democracy of doing just that?
location: apartment 8
Mood:: 'annoyed' annoyed
Music:: Faithless - Bombs CDM Promo - Bombs (Benny Benassi Remix)
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posted by [personal profile] maelorin at 10:31pm on 20/05/2006 under , , , ,

Friday, May 19, 2006
White House to UN: Guantanamo 'fully within the boundaries of American law'
Jaime Jansen at 4:05 PM ET

[JURIST] The White House Friday responded to a report [PDF text; JURIST report] by the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) [official website] calling on the US to shut down its Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention facility by reinterating President Bush's statement [JURIST report] that he hopes to close it at some point, and insisting that "everything that is done in terms of questioning detainees is fully within the boundaries of American law." Press Secretary Tony Snow [BBC profile] incidentally chided the Geneva-based committee by adding "the United States government had on a number of occasions invited this UN panel to go down to Guantanamo. They chose not to do so...", an apparent reference to the decision last year of UN rights rapporteurs not to visit the prison [JURIST report] after being told they would not be allowed to interview detainees [JURIST report].

Read the full text of Friday's White House "press gaggle"

The US appeared before the CAT for the first time in six years earlier this month.
US Department of State legal adviser John Bellinger [official profile] informed the panel that US intelligence agencies internal policies follow the law under the consultation of the US Justice Department, and specifically follow the Detainee Treatment Act [JURIST document]. The panel's report on its annual review [JURIST report] of US compliance with the Convention Against Torture [text], released earlier Friday, said Guantanamo should be shut down, the US should disclose the locations of alleged secret prisons connected with the practice of extraordinary rendition, and expressed concern that the US has denied the International Committee of the Red Cross access to terror detainees held in secret locations.

7:55 PM ET - In a related development, Bellinger told reporters at the State Department Friday:

we are disappointed that despite the fact that the committee acknowledges the extensive materials that we gave to them, that they don't seem to have relied on information that we gave to them in preparing their report... In many ways, it appears that the report was written without the benefit of the materials, the information that we gave them, and, in fact, they seem to have ignored a good deal of the information that we did give to them.... [As a result there are] numerous errors of fact, just simply things that they've got wrong about what the U.S. law or practice is.

The committee also seems to have stretched in a number of areas to address issues that are well outside its mandate and outside the scope of the Convention Against Torture... We know these issues are out there. These are issues that you've all heard before. But we did not think that it's in the scope of this particular committee to go try to address every issue relating to detainees or Guantanamo and try to somehow squeeze it into the mandate of the Convention Against Torture.

The US State Department has more.
Read a full transcript of Bellinger's briefing.

maelorin: (staring)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Human rights key component of Annan global counter-terror plan
Angela Onikepe at 7:51 AM ET

[JURIST Europe] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented [speech text] his recommendations [UN press release] for a global counter-terrorism strategy to the UN General Assembly Tuesday, emphasizing the need to respect human rights in all aspects of anti-terrorism policy and practice. The defense of human rights constituted the fifth part of what he called the fundamental components of a global strategy, which also included:

  • dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it;
  • denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack;
  • deterring States from supporting terrorism; and
  • developing State capacity to defeat terrorism

Annan's strategy is encapsulated in a 32-page report [text] calling on states to "ratify and implement the core international human rights instruments and accept the competence of international and national human rights monitoring bodies." Annan insisted that by defending human rights, the global community can deprive terrorists of a critical victory. He also called upon member states to agree on the draft of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism [text], long held up by disagreements over a core definition of terrorism, insisting that those disagreements should not stand in the way of agreement on other issues.

The UN General Assembly is slated to begin discussions on Annan's recommendations May 11.

Voice of America has more.

Music:: penn & teller: bullshit (ground zero)
Mood:: 'contemplative' contemplative
maelorin: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] maelorin at 07:48pm on 07/04/2006 under , , , ,
Thursday, April 06, 2006
US will not seek election to new UN Human Rights Council
David Shucosky at 4:10 PM ET

[JURIST] The State Department announced Thursday afternoon in Washington that the United States will not be seeking membership this year of the new UN Human Rights Council [official website; UN materials; FAQ]. A spokesman said in a press statement ahead of a scheduled daily briefing:

There are strong candidates in our regional group, with long records of support for human rights, that voted in favor of the resolution creating the Council. They should have the opportunity to run....

Since the credibility of the Council depends on its membership, the United States will actively campaign on behalf of candidates genuinely committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, and which will act as responsible members of this new body. We will also actively campaign against states that systematically abuse human rights.

With a strong collective effort in the coming months to make the new Council effective, the United States will likely run for the Council next year.

Last month the US led a tiny minority of 4 countries opposing [JURIST report] the resolution [JURIST document] creating the council, insisting that it wanted more to be done to prevent abusive countries from gaining membership [JURIST report] on the body. There had been speculation that the US would not be able to secure the majority 96 UN General Assembly votes necessary for a successful membership bid. Cuba and Iran are two of the 40 countries that have so far applied for council membership [UN list]; 47 countries will be chosen on May 9.

The new body, which replaces the troubled UN Commission on Human Rights [official website], which held its last meeting on March 27 [JURIST report], meets for the first time in Geneva on June 19. Countries will serve a maximum of two three-year terms.

AP has more.

this has sooo gotta work better than the commission ... 47 on the council ...

"that the United States will not be seeking membership" ... "speculation that the US would not be able to secure the majority 96 UN General Assembly votes necessary for a successful membership bid."
Mood:: 'morose' morose
maelorin: (complete boob)
posted by [personal profile] maelorin at 11:48pm on 28/03/2006 under , , , ,
Monday, March 27, 2006
UN rights commission holds last session
Katerina Ossenova at 4:53 PM ET

[JURIST] The last meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights [official website] took place in Geneva Monday, as its replacement prepares to hold its first session on June 19. The UN Human Rights Council [JURIST news archive; UN backgrounder] was brought into being by a General Assembly resolution [text] earlier this month after five months of negotiations following the UN World Summit. The Commission, created in 1946, had been sharply criticized for allowing countries with continued human rights violations to win seats and protect each other from inquiries.

While originally inspired by the United States, the new Council
faced objections [JURIST report] from the United States [official statement], Israel, the Marshall Islands, and Palau for not taking enough measures to prevent abusive countries from becoming members. US Ambassador Kevin Moley told the Associated Press, "The good news is that the commission is over. The bad news is that what replaces it isn't much better." The US has not announced whether it will seek election to the council.

AP has

unless and until everyone recognises that the club isn't really going to criticise itself too much, everyone is going to feel dissatisfied with any human rights body the club creates. especially when the club creates a body that it (a) refuses to fund properly, preventing it from actually doing much, and (b) refuses to give sufficient powers to, so it cannot do much unless 'invited' to intervene.

also, one wonders where the usa gets off whinging about the 'ineffectiveness' of any body that it proposes on the one hand, then objects too when it is formed. leads to suspicions of sensitivities to the possibility that the body might say things the usa does not like to hear ...

[also, are not the marshall islands a protectorate of the usa, or have i missed something?]

Mood:: 'crappy' crappy
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posted by [personal profile] maelorin at 11:24pm on 09/03/2006 under , , ,
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Racial discrimination, xenophobia surging worldwide: UN expert

and just to prove the point ...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
French tribunal rules against Sikh turbans in driver's license photos

so french. and so very, very silly.
Mood:: 'crazy' crazy
maelorin: (complete boob)
posted by [personal profile] maelorin at 04:38pm on 25/02/2006 under , , , ,
Thursday, February 23, 2006
UN General Assembly president unveils proposal for new human rights body
Holly Manges Jones at 7:36 PM ET

[JURIST] UN General Assembly President Jan Eliasson [official profile] on Thursday unveiled a draft proposal for a new United Nations human rights body that would replace the highly criticized Commission on Human Rights [UN backgrounder]. The blueprint [PDF text] describes a 47-member Human Rights Council whose membership would be open to all UN member states. States would be elected to the Council by a majority of members of the General Assembly [official website], not two-thirds, as some countries had pushed for. Eliasson also spelled out several ways the proposed Council would differ from the current Commission, including:

  • the new Human Rights Council would be a subsidiary body of the General Assembly and therefore have a higher institutional standing; ...
  • the universal periodic review would be a mechanism where the fulfillment by each State of its human rights obligations would be assessed;
  • the distribution of seats would be in accordance with equitable geographical distribution;
  • members of the Council would not be eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms;
  • while membership of the Human Rights Council would be open to all Member States, there would be legitimate expectations on members. Asserting its standing and authority, the General Assembly would have the ability to suspend a Council member which commits gross and systematic violations of human rights;
  • and lastly, the Human Rights Council would meet regularly throughout the year.

Negotiations [JURIST report] on the new rights body have taken place over the past several months and have not been easy. Drafters from Western nations lobbied for a smaller body that would disallow participation by countries marked with continued human rights violations. Developing countries meanwhile argued against a Western-run committee without inquiries into rights abuses by the US, China and Russia.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Thursday urged [transcript] member states to adopt the proposal, saying that "the Council will usher in a new era for the Organization's advancement of human rights -- one built on increased cooperation with Member States, individually and collectively, to help them fulfil their obligations." Watch recorded video [JURIST video] of Eliasson's press briefing on the Human Rights Council proposal.

Reuters has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.

12:03 PM ET 2/24/06 - The draft resolution [PDF text] establishing the Human Rights Council is now available online.

Mood:: 'touched' touched
Music:: star wars: empire at war
maelorin: (Default)
Friday, April 15, 2005

Ku [Hofstra]: The Non-Debate on Bolton
9:23 PM ET

Julian Ku, Hofstra University School of Law:

"David Brooks defends Bolton's nomination today on very straightforward grounds: Bolton is opposed to creeping global governance in the form of the ICC and a strong U.N. Here's an excerpt:
They know we're not close to a global version of the European superstate. So they are content to champion creeping institutions like the International Criminal Court. They treat U.N. General Assembly resolutions as an emerging body of international law. They seek to foment a social atmosphere in which positions taken by multilateral organizations are deemed to have more "legitimacy" than positions taken by democratic nations. John Bolton is just the guy to explain why this vaporous global-governance notion is a dangerous illusion, and that we Americans, like most other peoples, will never accept it.
It is interesting that critics of Bolton have refused largely to attack him on policy grounds by, say, criticizing his opposition to the ICC, as Bill Kristol notes here, even though this seems to be the real basis for opposition. Instead, the critics have been scrounging up so-called Republicans like Carl Ford (who donate to Kerry and work for Democrats) to dish dirt on Bolton's management style. This is a classic Washington tactic but it also reveals how opponents of Bolton have been largely unable (or unwilling) to gain traction by exposing his supposedly far-right views." [April 15, 2005: Opinio Juris has the post.]
ooh! coz the un and the icc are so scarey ... wait ... no, they still don't have the bomb.

oh, ahng on. i got it wrong. this is about un-american behaviour ... <mutters something about mcartney ... mccarty ... something>
Mood:: 'amused' amused
Music:: Adam Ant - Goody Two Shoes


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