Magazine June 11, 2012, Issue

Many Boots, Many Faces

(NTB Scanpix/Ryan Kelly/Reuters)
The problem of moral selectivity in human rights

Oslo, Norway

Virtually every cause under the sun gets a hearing at the Oslo Freedom Forum, sooner or later. The Freedom Forum is an annual human-rights conference, held here in the Norwegian capital. It is distinguished by its ecumenism. Its only slant, it seems, is toward freedom.

This year, we hear from a West Papuan tribal chief, outfitted in a spectacular headdress. He talks about the horrors visited upon him and his people by the Indonesian overlords. We hear from three former slaves, out of Cambodia, Haiti, and Nepal. They tell of their ordeals, and how they are trying to help others

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