More irony from the United Nations

November 17th, 2008 at 11:50 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports on how the United Nations is having a two day conference on religious tolerance. It has chosen Saudia Arabia to chair the conference.

:

  • bans the public practice of non-Islamic religions
  • views its interpretation of Islamic law as its sole source of guidance on human rights
  • Muslims who do not follow the official strict and conservative version of Sunni Islamcan face severe repercussions at the hands of Mutawwa’in (religious police)
  • forbids missionary work by any religion other than Wahabi/Salafi Islam
  • Jewish, Christian or Hindu houses of prayer are not allowed
  • the government can search the home of anyone and arrest or deport foreign workers for owning religious icons and symbols
  • Under Saudi law conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy, a crime punishable by death if the accused does not recant.

Yes the perfect country to chair a conference on religious tolerance – one that executes you if you swap to a non tolerated religion

Hat Tip: Micky’s Muses

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56 Responses to “More irony from the United Nations”

  1. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    The irony could only have been greater if Helen Clark was appointed chair

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  2. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    The UN is a committee. Committees fuck everything up.

    This is a perfect example. The country with arguably the most to fear from a real examination of religious tolerance gets to control proceedings of the examination.

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  3. WebWrat (466 comments) says:

    Helen will fit into the UN perfectly!

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  4. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,760 comments) says:

    Helen Clark gives two thumbs up.

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  5. WebWrat (466 comments) says:

    An elephant is actually a mouse built by a committee!

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  6. Charlie Tan (128 comments) says:

    “The irony could only have been greater if Helen Clark was appointed chair.”

    Still picking over the corpse are we, scumbags? Actually, Helen was quite visible in promoting religious tolerance and bringing leaders of different faiths together.

    “Yes the perfect country to chair a UN conference on religious tolerance…”

    Well, in a way it is. You could have a conference on religious and cultural tolerance in, say, San Francisco, but in all likelihood no one would care and it would just be ignored.

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  7. Sector 7g (242 comments) says:

    You are spot on Charlie. I rember Helen being very tolerant of the Exclusive Brethren. Is this the sort of tolerance you speak of?

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  8. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    In all the excitement I’d forgotten about Helen Clark’s corpse actually, but now that you mention it, why not? Plenty of tasty morsels there. The heart and guts are mysteriously missing, but those bile ducts are highly engorged. A delicacy if ever I saw them.

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  9. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “Still picking over the corpse are we, scumbags?”

    Think about that Charlie – “we” is used to denote oneself and others –

    Doh!

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  10. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    The crap the U.N peddles out the doors never ceases to amaze me.

    Jordan or Lebanon would have been better choices heck even Iran treats minority religions with more respect than Saudi Arabia. My guess is this would be more to do with stemming the flow of funding and recruitment to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan than promoting tolerance towards other religions.

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  11. goodgod (1,317 comments) says:

    The problem is obvious. Only the UN could not see it. How any follower of any religion could then be a follower of more than one religion is a mystery. Either you follow your given religion or you don’t. You wouldn’t blend the two just so you could say you were tolerant. Which verses of your text would you ignore, and would you need a note from your god to say it was ok? Could you then go through your text and create a readers digest version – only the most useful and tolerant verses would remain. Just so people got the idea? It will come as a surprise to the UN, but most religious text specifically warn against doing that.

    Next the UN will be searching for the discovery of boiling hot ice.

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  12. slightlyrighty (2,096 comments) says:

    To be fair to the UN, although they may not be the most effective agency on the planet, where there is famine, they send aid. Where there is conflict they send peacekeepers.

    If there is starvation in Somalia, that is where the food is sent. When East Timor was in turmoil, that is where the troops were sent.

    So the obvious move is to have a conference on religious tolerance where it does not exist! I actually think it is a bold move from a titular sense, although I make that statement having not seen the agenda of what is to be discussed.

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  13. goodgod (1,317 comments) says:

    The UN’s troops don’t fire their guns, often abuse the people themselves, and stand by while warlords pick up the food dropped for the starving people. They leave whole towns to be attacked rather than fire their guns.

    As one UN worker said: If the UN comes to your village and offers to protect you – run!

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  14. Brian Smaller (3,965 comments) says:

    THis shows even more how the UN is a complete joke. The most religiously oppressive country on earth chairs the committee on religious tolerance. WHat next? Iran, North Korea and Venezuela on the Human Rights Committee?

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  15. radar (318 comments) says:

    And which country is Saudi Arabia’s best friend in the west and military and financial backer? I will give you a clue: It’s large, powerful, and recently had an election.

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  16. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    Brian: I am pretty Libya does or did chair the Human Rights committee

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  17. adc (558 comments) says:

    It makes it quite difficult for Saudi leaders to ignore the concept of religious tolerance if they are chairing the summit.

    It also makes it more difficult for them to continue condoning persecution of other religions. They are putting a fairly significant mark in the sand by taking this on.

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  18. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    adc>It also makes it more difficult for them to continue condoning persecution of other religions

    No it doesn’t. Their only agenda is to make it harder for the rest of us to criticise their brand of Islam. That is their definition of the word “tolerance”.

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  19. dad4justice (6,594 comments) says:

    Oh, bloody charming, the Arabian sheik becomes infatuated with Islam and the corrupt UN thinks tolerance and freedom of expression is delivered in oil barrels.

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  20. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    And the Saudi Royals, The House of Saud continue to fund Terrorism.

    They also remain mute whilst Muslims of different codes bomb and ethnically cleanse.

    Predominantly Sunni, they do not ever seem to comment when Hundreds of Shia’s are exterminated.

    Too weird to be true. The Sauds could never allow Secularism, as it would surely mean being overthrown!

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  21. 3-coil (1,199 comments) says:

    Charlie Tan (12:49am) – you really are a sucker if you believe Hellen was tolerant of religious diversity.

    She mouthed the platitudes for her TV soundbites, but had her hitmen attacking and slandering NZ minority church groups in Parliament – all the while she sat beside them with that stupid smirk on her face. She is a liar, and a hypocrite.

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  22. Fletch (6,517 comments) says:

    Re: Helen Clark and religion – this is only second hand, but a friend of mine says she heard Helen on Layton Smith’s show before the election when a woman rang up and seriously asked (you could see she’d thought it out) why Helen had been bringing policies that obviously were against what a great number of religious NZers believed in.

    Apparently, Helen went on to say how she was very tolerant of religion and went on to detail her religious upbringing and how she believes in the 10 Commandments and she’d never murdered anybody (‘Thou Shall Not Kill’). Layton chimed in with the question, ‘what about adultery’? (with reference to legalizing prostitution and some other laws Labour has passed) and she didn’t know really what to say – sputtered and ummed and awwed…

    As I say, this is only from what someone told me, but it would have been great to hear it :)

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  23. iago (18 comments) says:

    “To be fair to the UN, although they may not be the most effective agency on the planet, where there is famine, they send aid. Where there is conflict they send peacekeepers.

    If there is starvation in Somalia, that is where the food is sent. When East Timor was in turmoil, that is where the troops were sent.”

    You should read Emergency Sex for an account of what life in the UN is really like.

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  24. dime (10,207 comments) says:

    when asked about the UN, Obi_wan said this

    “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

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  25. KevOB (182 comments) says:

    Reports from front line Christians are of massive conversions taking place among the muslim world including Saudi Arabia.God is in charge not some UN committee.

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  26. Gravyman62 (37 comments) says:

    Well I hope they follow up with a conference on tolerance of other delusions. That one would have to be in Wellington.

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  27. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    The UN is holding a conference on religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia….

    George Orwell would call that Doublethink. Here’s a quote from ‘1984’:

    “His [Winston’s] mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully-constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy; to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved using doublethink.”

    The same Doublethink occurs in NZ: Maori religion and every other religion *except* christianity is tolerated. I’ve expained the reasons for this here:
    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/the-motives-of-the-liberal-left/

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  28. sbk (313 comments) says:

    Mind you,under Saudi law, half of Labour would have a hand missing.

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  29. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    “Mind you,under Saudi law, half of Labour would have a hand missing” :lol:

    Only half?

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  30. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    Out here in NZ, we are WAAAY out of touch with the reality of what is going on at the U.N.

    Read THIS from World Net Daily one year ago: (and this is just one of many such assessments)

    “……..Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation, said the U.S. “must remain wary of continuing efforts by U.N. member states to gain wider acceptance of the ‘defamation of religions’ concept.”

    Proponents “will continue to push the ‘defamation of religions’ agenda at the U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.N. General Assembly, and at other international forums such as the April 2009 Durban Review Conference,” he warned…..

    “………States already have laws to condemn religious discrimination and prosecute acts of incitement to violence, he argued. The federal government “should tread extremely lightly where disputes over religious doctrine are concerned. The U.S. does not need a national speech code that would restrict the First Amendment rights of Americans, no matter how offensive that speech may be to any particular religious denomination.”……..

    “……..The proposal has been presented repeatedly since 1999 from the 57 member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which adopted the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. The declaration states “all rights are subject to Shariah law, and makes Shariah law the only source of reference for human rights…..

    “……..The discrimination is “wrapped in the guise of a U.N. resolution called ‘Combating Defamation of Religions,'” the ACLJ said. “We must put an immediate end to this most recent, dangerous attack on faith that attempts to criminalize Christianity.”…..

    “…….The most recent plan was submitted in March. It specifically cited a declaration “adopted by the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers” at a meeting in Islamabad “which condemned the growing trend of Islamophobia and systematic discrimination against adherents of Islam.”

    It also cites the dictates from the OIC meeting in Dakar “in which the Organization expressed concern at the systematically negative stereotyping of Muslims and Islam and other divine religions.”

    According to published reports, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights’ 53 members voted to adopt the resolution earlier this year, with opposition from the U.S. and the European Union.

    On the Grizzly Groundswell blog, the author described the situation as, “The United Nations: 160 cannibals and 17 civilized people taking a majority vote on what to have for dinner.”

    The U.S. State Department also has found the proposal unpalatable.

    “This resolution is incomplete inasmuch as it fails to address the situation of all religions,” said the statement from Leonard Leo, a public member of the U.S. delegation to the 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. “We believe that such inclusive language would have furthered the objective of promoting religious freedom. We also believe that any resolution on this topic must include mention of the need to change educational systems that promote hatred of other religions, as well as the problem of state-sponsored media that negatively targets any one religion.”…….”

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  31. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    Did you get that choice little assessment?

    “The United Nations: 160 cannibals and 17 civilized people taking a majority vote on what to have for dinner.”

    Look, the ignorance of the majority in the Western world, especially NZ, about the UN, is frightening, and dangerous too. The totalitarian nations, being an absolute majority, have long since worked out how to manipulate the UN in their own favour and at the expense of free peoples such as ourselves. Yet Helen Clark, for example, has exploited Kiwis ignorance shamelessly, referring to UN Resolutions on this or that subject when it suited her, and the whole Left-dominated establishment also does it; do we really expect that the USA or Israel, for example, will ever get a fair hearing at the UN? It is just that we are so piddly, we have not yet been on the receiving end of UN “justice” and their warped determining of what is or is not “illegal”, or “oppression”, or “genocide”.

    If the USA and other civilised nations decided to just pull the plug and walk away from the UN, and set up their own “Concert of Democratic Nations” or the like, what are the chances that Kiwis would AGREE with this, ignorant as they are?

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  32. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    If you want to get up to speed about the U.N., visit THIS website, get their update e-mails, watch their videos:

    http://www.eyeontheun.org/

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  33. paradigm (452 comments) says:

    What we really need is a piece of legislation that spells out catagorically that religion is nothing other than a set of beliefs, and that beliefs can be wrong. As such no religion is above criticism. As well as avoiding much of the crap the UN is trying to indoctrinate everyone with, it would also spell out that the race relations commisioner should not keep trying to incorporate religion into his portfolio and stop him from treating it on the same level as race.

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  34. s.russell (1,649 comments) says:

    Actually the choice of venue is quite smart, and adc‘s comment above is right.

    Do-gooders getting together in a tolerant country (such as New Zealand) and hand-wringing about oppression in Saudi Arabia will make diddly squat difference to anything in the real world. People like the Saudis are not going to listen to lectures from New Zealanders.

    But having the conference in Saudi Arabia creates interesting pressures. It shows other intolerant nations that even the Saudis think a little more toleration might be a good thing, and it says this especially to Saudis themselves. It forces the Saudi govt to examine its own conscience on the issue. It means the do-gooder delegates get a closer look at a real-world place where their work actually has some meaning (and lets face it, a lot of these people are head-in-the-clouds liberals who do not understand much about the realities in places such as Saudi Arabia).

    All these things are subtle, but together they might do a smidgeon of good – and a smidgeon is about all you can expect from such an event, and from the UN generally. (Note: This is not a damnation of the UN, it is praise. Keep accumulating the smidgeons and you might eventually get something significant, fail to try and you will get nowhere).

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  35. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    paradigm, s.russell, DPF, everyone, wake up. This is no longer ABOUT us devising the nicest laws or Saudi Arabia listening to us. It is now about Saudi Arabia forcing US to listen to THEM, with the aid of the other fifty-something Islamic nations and the other one hundred and something thugocracies, at the U.N.

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  36. tknorriss (327 comments) says:

    Charlie: “Actually, Helen was quite visible in promoting religious tolerance and bringing leaders of different faiths together.”

    So, this was the same Helen who wouldn’t say grace with the queen but was prepared to cover her head to go to a mosque?

    I’d say SELECTIVE tolerance would describe Helen to a tee. Given the article above, she would fit perfectly into the UN environment.

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  37. Bob (445 comments) says:

    What is a two day conference going to achieve anyway? Perhaps if the Chair only arranges the seating and place names it won’t be too bad. The conference will probably end up condemning Israel for being intolerant.

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  38. Peter (1,694 comments) says:

    Much as I think the UN is often useless, Saudi Arabia is the ideal place to hold such a conference. What point is there “preaching” to the converted, from converted territory?

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  39. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller (469) Vote: 10 0 Says:

    November 18th, 2008 at 7:27 am
    “THis shows even more how the UN is a complete joke. The most religiously oppressive country on earth chairs the committee on religious tolerance. What next? Iran, North Korea and Venezuela on the Human Rights Committee?”

    What do you mean, “what NEXT” Brian Smaller? Are you honestly not aware that those nations ARE, or recently HAVE BEEN, ON the UN Human Rights Committee? This is just the latest par for the course for the UN.

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  40. Ross Miller (1,618 comments) says:

    Is Charlie Tan REALLY going to have to spend the next three years banging his head against the wall?

    Ah well, if it makes him feel better go2it

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  41. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    tknorriss (113) Vote: 1 0 Says:

    November 18th, 2008 at 10:23 am
    Charlie: “Actually, Helen was quite visible in promoting religious tolerance and bringing leaders of different faiths together.”

    “So, this was the same Helen who wouldn’t say grace with the queen but was prepared to cover her head to go to a mosque?

    I’d say SELECTIVE tolerance would describe Helen to a tee. Given the article above, she would fit perfectly into the UN environment.”

    There is a simple rule of thumb for every facet of current liberal lefty multiculturalism and notions of “tolerance”. It is as simple as THIS: does this undermine Christianity? Yes/No

    If yes; good
    If no; bad.

    THAT is why you get contradictions like Islam, good; and feminism, good.

    I’d like to see anyone try and debunk that rule, or provide a better explanation.

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  42. freethinker (677 comments) says:

    kiwipolemicist (156) Vote: 2 0 Says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 9:22 am

    “Mind you,under Saudi law, half of Labour would have a hand missing”

    Only half?

    Yes the rest would already have been beheaded – although would probably not prevent them from continue talking out of their arses.

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  43. Turpin (342 comments) says:

    I well remember the ohh so tolerant (oxymoron) Helen Clark wearing a coloured habib for Muslims but declining the Christian grace at table.

    Dhimmitude
    The legal and social state of being a non-muslim living under subjugation of Sharia law.

    Dhimmi
    A conquered person living under sharia law (Zoastrans, Jews, Christians only, as all others are pagans and should be killed if they won’t convert).

    Jeyzra
    A head tax paid by a Dhimmi to avoid being killed (ask the bishop of Mosul’s family who was killed the week after he stopped paying the jeyzra)

    Be assured the OIC assigns monies every year for the Islamic evangelism of different countries in the Dar al Harb (World of War) from the Dar al Islam (World of Islam).

    http://www.Dhimmitude.org,
    http://www.stopshariahnow.org/ssn/
    http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=524CAB01-3556-428C-B07B-09F8716C78E5

    Whilst you’re at it do a google on Obama, Odinga and Islamic Council of Kenya for a glimpse of what sort of people OB1 actually supports.

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  44. Turpin (342 comments) says:

    ADC and s.Russel I sadly think you might be living in cloud cookoo land. read this

    http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=odinga++agreement+with+muslim+council&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    Just to make it easier for you on OB1 Odinga and the Muslim council of Kenya.
    The MOU Odinga signed with the MCK makes interesting reading.

    More important is as a sitting senator OB1 travelled Kenya supporting Odinga and helped get $1m USD funding for him.
    For the life of me I can’t fathom a freedom loving American Senator openly travelling with a foriegn politician who intended to enslave their own population under Sharia Law.

    Even Helen Clark wouldn’t do that!

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  45. Shunda barunda (2,986 comments) says:

    The UN really is a joke. It makes my skin crawl when I hear people like Cindy Stalin… oh… I mean Kiro, refering to the UN on “children rights”
    I wonder if we will next be issued a UN report card on how NZ is doing on religious tollerance, no doubt it will be bad because of all those intollerant crosses on our churches and in cemetaries.
    The UN is just a dumping ground for failed and has-been politicians, and it shows.

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  46. Turpin (342 comments) says:

    Peter
    I might agree with you but for the fact that :-
    if any members of the conference were to openly pray or worship in public orm loud enough for Muslims to hear they’d be arrested.
    not to mention their bibles or other religious books being taken off of them if they declare them at customs as they should.

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  47. paradigm (452 comments) says:

    Philbest, I am tempted to suggest you add “will this help me buy the election?” to your list, but getting labour back into power is really just a means to the original question you posed in your if statement.

    Also short of sanctions against the countries pushing this “religious tollerance” declaration, enacting a piece of legislation in your country in direct opposition to what the declaration hopes to achieve is probably the strongest action the government could take against it. Especially if you had the said legislation entrenched. I would not consider it as just a “nice” law.

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  48. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    You’re thinking along the right lines, paradigm, but the whole point of transnationalism, is to hoodwink people into letting their elected representatives sign up to international “Treaties” and the like, that have the force of trumping local legislation. It is already reality in the EU, actually a lot hangs right now on the fact that the Irish were the only ones to get a referendum on it, and they voted against it. All the other member nations of the EU did not get this luxury. Welcome to “democracy”, where Helen Clark type leaders use their “mandates to do anything”. No wonder she likes the UN.

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  49. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    PhilBest
    — All the other member nations of the EU did not get this luxury. Welcome to “democracy”, where Helen Clark type leaders use their “mandates to do anything”. No wonder she likes the UN. —

    I would just like to expand on that a bit

    The biggest obstacle in the way of these mandates being applied wholesale to country’s right now is Russia and other non aligned nations, so in a sad way we can thank them for what remains of our freedoms.

    I for one cannot understand why we have a free trade deal with China (which has been given the [tick] for free trade deals) when a fledgling democracy like Russia is given no such concessions, Russia has only been a democracy for 20 years period in it’s entire history …. makes you think we should encourage it more … but because they don’t accept U.N resolutions and committee findings they are ostracized, while dictatorships like China are embraced.

    A bloody disgrace and shows what the U.N is, a Forum for those who want to set a Global Agenda or another word you hear more often these days, a New World Order.

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  50. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    True, Banana Llama.

    Turpin, good to see that input from someone so well-informed. Keep it up.

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  51. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    James Allan: Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe: are you laughing yet?
    When outlaws run UN committees, global community is a dubious concept
    May 22, 2007 THE AUSTRALIAN

    “LISTEN carefully and you will hear regular appeals to “the international community” or to “the UN” or to “what the rest of the world thinks”. These sort of appeals pop up when the speaker happens not to like some outcome produced by the democratic process here in Australia.

    So the speaker might dislike some outcome having to do with rights, or with labour standards, or just about anything really. And rather than go through the hassles and hard work of actually changing the minds of some of his or her fellow citizens, this speaker appeals in some grandiose way to what “the international community thinks” as though that were self-evidently good and the end of the matter. Personally, I think a fairly large dose of scepticism is warranted.

    Start with the UN itself. The old UN Commission on Human Rights was dismantled in June last year for being ineffective, biased, ridiculous: take your pick. In its place we have the UN Human Rights Council, with 47 member countries. And in its short lifespan it has already made nine resolutions criticising human rights abuses.

    Sounds good, right? Well, not one of those resolutions was critical of Sudan (over Darfur), or Zimbabwe, or China, or anywhere, save Israel. Yes, Israel is the only country this new body has criticised (on nine separate occasions, no less) for rights abuses. Gee, nothing to be sceptical about in that.

    How about the UN Commission on the Status of Women? At its 2007 annual conference, when surveying the plight of women around the entire world, what countries did it single out? Saudi Arabia, maybe, where women aren’t allowed to drive and are liable to be stoned to death? Or big chunks of Africa? Or Afghanistan? Nope. Apparently the only country that warranted a resolution for violating women’s rights was, wait for it, Israel.

    Does scepticism really need to be made of sterner stuff?

    Or how about this? The UN Commission on Sustainable Development, which is charged with economic development and the environment, just elected as its chairman Zimbabwe. Yes, Zimbabwe, which has annual inflation of more than 2200 per cent and whose economy is contracting by more than 5 per cent a year.

    Or what about the UN’s Disarmament Commission? Iran was just elected to serve as vice-chairman, with Syria as rapporteur. Even George Orwell couldn’t satirise that!

    Oh, the countries on that above-mentioned UN Human Rights Council include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Angola, Azerbaijan and others whose advice on human rights might not strike you as terribly persuasive, which is no doubt why those people who don’t like the outcomes of democratic politics here in Australia tend to phrase their appeals in vague, amorphous terms (”the international community”) rather than in specifics (”here’s what Robert Mugabe and the Baath party of Syria think about the proper level of treatment for women and minorities”).

    Need more examples of “interesting” countries on various agencies and bodies? Here are just a few. Committee on Information: China and Kazakhstan. World Food Program executive board: Sudan and Zimbabwe (for some reason North Korea missed out, despite its famine). International Labour Organisation Governing Body (the one lots of union officials like to appeal to): Saudi Arabia (that bastion of generous treatment to non-citizen workers).

    Now, I know that some readers – those who have more than a passing acquaintance with the whole international law superstructure and who, one supposes, get the odd invitation to conferences across the world or are asked to serve in some paid role here or there – like to say that these examples are all on the political side of the UN. Forget all that, they’ll say (well, at least if you get a few drinks into them). The real work, they assure you, takes place in the various treaty bodies, the groups of “experts” who report on the many human rights treaties in existence.

    So, any room for scepticism there? I think that depends on whether you’re a democrat at heart or you’re more inclined towards aristocratic, philosopher-king, judicial-activism type of government.

    You see, these treaty bodies are staffed with people making all sorts of highly debatable calls. To give but one example, does spanking infringe eternal, timeless human rights? The issue divides people who are smart, reasonable and nice. It should be left to the voters, full stop.

    The body overseeing the Convention on the Rights of the Child disagrees. The experts think they have a pipeline to God on this one. They point to Article 19 and say it prohibits spanking. But this is pure poppycock. Remember, this convention had to be phrased in incredibly general, amorphous terms in order to get the world’s Chinas and Egypts to sign up. So it said no such thing in explicit terms. If it had done so, no country save Sweden (and maybe New Zealand) would have signed up. But these “experts” use a souped-up interpretation-on-steroids power to foster a sort of rule by the democratically illegitimate. It’s a bit like really bad judicial activism, save that it takes place outside the glare of publicity. And when solid democratic countries ignore the views of these self-styled experts, that is characterised as being “against international human rights standards”.

    So it’s either the politicised UN agencies and bodies or the preening, smug, “expert”-driven and highly democratically illegitimate treaty bodies that tell us what these indeterminate treaties mean: treaties that I should note were entered into in Australia under the prerogative power, meaning they never had to be passed through parliament and voted on by elected representatives.

    I think we can be sceptical of both these things. If you randomly drew 100 names from the phone book, those people would be a better guide to how to draw the many debatable and contentious rights-respecting lines that need drawing than anything likely to emerge from the UN or “the international community”.

    Call me sceptical.”

    James Allan is a professor of law at the University of Queensland.

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  52. wikiriwhis business (4,189 comments) says:

    The antichrist is coming from Islam

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  53. PhilBest (4,757 comments) says:

    I thought Al Gore was the antichrist………

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  54. wikiriwhis business (4,189 comments) says:

    No phil

    Gore was the anticlimax.

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  55. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Perhaps the U.N. thinks Saudi has the most to gain/learn from involvement in this conference…?

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  56. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    “The antichrist is coming from Islam”

    Where’d you read that wiki? The eternal sea covers many lands and not every ME nation is Muslim.

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