The Corner

The Parade of the Absurd at Durban II

The Parade of the Absurd continued today at Durban II.

• Belarus announced with a straight face that it adheres to all international human-rights standards. The U.S. State Department Country Report on Human Rights disagrees, concluding that Belarus’s record is “very poor as government authorities continued to commit frequent serious abuses. . . . The government further restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of press, speech, assembly, association, and religion.”

• Saudi Arabia, which does not allow any religion to be practiced except Islam, condemned Israel for constraining the travel of Palestinians into Israel because doing so inhibits their ability to practice their religion freely. It declared its opposition to freedom of expression when it allows disparaging remarks on religion and called for prohibitions of “defamation of religions.”

• Eritrea — criticized by the U.S. State Department for widespread human-rights lapses, including unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, and severe restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion — asserted that it respects the principles of non-discrimination, equality, and other tenants of international human-rights standards.

• North Korea, probably the most repressive and brutal regime in the world, decried the continued prevalence of discrimination and racism and announced that their government guarantees human-rights protections for its citizens.

Considering the rogues gallery of human-rights abusers participating in the Durban Review Conference, the remarkable thing isn’t that the Durban II outcome document disappointingly justifies constraints on fundamental freedoms, but that it wasn’t far worse.

The Durban II conference is a testament to the fundamental problem of letting the U.N. lead on human-rights issues. Its universal membership and its institutional adherence to moral equivalence allow the inmates to run the asylum. It elevates and empowers the world’s worst human-rights abusers by treating them the same as those that observe and value human rights. It allows them a global stage to voice their lies and hypocrisies, as they mock the process, debase the debate, and undermine efforts to advance protections of human rights. The end result is at best disappointing, at worst harmful.


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