The United Nations Commission on Human Rights is holding its annual meeting in Geneva. Former Senator Rudy Boschwitz is head of the U.S. delegation. He says promoting human rights and democracy around the world "is not only a noble goal, it is a very practical goal."
The world is more secure whenever freedom and democracy prevail. If the U-N Commission on Human Rights is to help achieve the goals, it must have the courage to condemn the world's worst human rights abusers. They include Belarus, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, and Sudan. Mr. Boschwitz said the U-N Commission on Human Rights should have reasonable standards of membership if it is to be credible.
Freedom House has recently put out a booklet entitled, "The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies in 2005." Six of the eighteen most repressive governments are current members of the U-N Commission on Human Rights. They include China, Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.
Members of the U-N Commission on Human Rights, said Mr. Boschwitz, "get together and prevent, in collusion with one another, resolutions from being offered or being successful against them."
A wave of democratic development is spreading around the globe; the U-N Commission on Human Rights should be helping this movement along.
Freedom House points out that in 1974, there were forty-one democracies in the world. By 2004, that number had grown to eighty-nine. In the last eighteen months, there have been elections in Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, and Iraq. Elsewhere, massive demonstrations have swept away corrupt leaders in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan after they tried to rig elections. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commented on this trend:
"Freedom, democracy and human rights are not American principles or Western values. These ideals are shared by all people. They are non-negotiable demands of human dignity."
That's why the U.S. will continue to work with the U-N Commission on Human Rights to focus international attention on the world's worst human rights abusers.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.