The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, recently said, “I would like to focus on how poverty affects the civil and political rights of people living within the U.S., given the United States’ constant emphasis on the importance it attaches to these rights in its foreign policy, and given that it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” Philip Alston is preparing a report in which he will claim that inequity within the United States violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The notion that inequity violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an awkward claim. The ICCPR covers such things as the right to self-determination, the right to pursue one’s own economic, social, and cultural goals, and the negative right of the people not to be deprived of the right to work toward their own subsistence. The specific rights are listed as:
- Physical Integrity (the right to life and freedom from torture and slavery),
- Liberty and Security of the Person (freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment),
- Due Process of Law,
- Individual Liberty (the freedoms of movement, thought, conscience and religion, speech, association and assembly, family rights, the right to a nationality, and to privacy),
- Prohibition of Propaganda for war or religious hatred / religious discrimination,
- The Right to Political Participation, including the right to vote, and
- Equal Treatment under the Law.
These are all very basic rights that the United States Constitution is based on, and that the United States has followed since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Inequity isn’t in the ICCPR, and yet inequity is being called a violation of the ICCPR by Philip Alston. On a larger scale, free markets are being called a violation of the ICCPR, as free markets create inequity. To Philip Alston, anything that creates inequity violates the principle of equal treatment under the law because Philip Alston measures equality of treatment based on the equality of outcomes achieved, and thus any system that creates inequity violates the ICCPR, to Philip Alston.
Without the economic freedoms that lead to inequity, people cannot have the right to pursue their own economic, social, and cultural goals, meaning that Philip Alston wants to completely throw out the purpose of the ICCPR in order to focus solely on his very poor definition of ‘equal treatment under the law’. Ironically, what Philip Alston wants (to tax those who earn to provide for those who do not) violates the right people have under the ICCPR to work toward their own subsistence. Philip Alston wants to violate the ICCPR, and wants to use the United Nations to force us to violate the ICCPR as well as our own Constitution.
Philip Alston is but one example of someone in the United Nations overstepping their roles in the pursuit of goals that are the antithesis of the United States Constitution, and the ICCPR. The worst violator of the ICCPR is the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which openly admits that their role has nothing to do with climate change. Ottmar Edenhofer, one of the co-chairs of the IPCC’s Working Group 3, openly stated that “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”
I would like anyone who reads this to re-read the bold text above. That statement should scare the hell out of you. and it is a direct quote.
Not to be outdone, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, said, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.” The economic development model she is referring to is free market capitalism. Christiana Figueres wants to replace free market capitalism with world-socialism, and not just socialism in terms of a generous welfare structure, but central planning, on a global scale, with each person getting no more than what the UN thinks they need.
Do you want the United Nations to decide what you ‘need,’ and to deny you the right to earn any more than that? Make no mistake: that is their goal. And you don’t have to take my word for it, because the UN is very open about this fact, as evidenced by the quotes above.
The United Nations also claims that the United States is a human rights violator, using a Human Rights Council board that is a joke. Look at the member states. I’ll borrow a description of some of the members from Townhall:
- Saudi Arabia Expertise in human rights: Death sentences for apostasy and adultery; corporal punishment including flogging and amputation; judiciary controlled by regime; beheading more peoeple than ever before; arbitrary arrests of dissenters and minorities; no freedom of speech; jails blogger Raif Badawi.
- Venezuela Expertise in human rights: Widespread arbitrary detention; imprisonment of opposition leaders; intimidation of journalists; torture; policies causing mass hunger and health catastrophe.
- China Expertise in human rights: Denial of freedom of speech, religion, and association; extrajudicial killings; repression of civil society; discrimination against Tibetans and other minorities.
- Cuba Expertise in human rights: Systematic violation of freedom of speech, assembly, press; elections are neither free nor fair; threats and violence against dissidents.
- Iraq Expertise in human rights: Pro-government militias commit widespread human rights abuses, including assassinations, enforced disappearances, property destruction.
- Qatar Expertise in human rights: Inhuman conditions for 1.4 million migrant workers; women denied basic rights to equality, denied right to be elected to legislative council; finances ISIS and Hamas.
- Burundi Expertise in human rights: Police killings of peaceful protesters; government forces commit summary executions, targeted assassinations, enforced disappearances; arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence; genocide warning.
- Bangladesh Expertise in human rights: Extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, killing of secular bloggers by Islamist groups, restrictions on online speech and the press, early and forced marriage, gender-based violence, abysmal working conditions and labor rights.
- United Arab Emirates Expertise in human rights:No political parties, no option to change government; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association; arrests without charge, incommunicado detentions, lengthy pretrial detentions; police and prison guard brutality; violence against women; anti-gay discrimination; mistreatment and sexual abuse of foreign domestic servants and other migrant workers.
Note the reasons that the UN calls the United States a human rights violator. They say that our criminal sentencing is too harsh, and they point out that we have racial disparities in criminal justice. Note that the United Nations does not mention that African Americans commit more than half of all violent crimes in the United States. The United Nations apparently believes that incarceration rates should match ethnic demographics without taking crime rates into account.
The UN says that our jails and prisons are inhumane, that we are too quick to lock up young people who commit crimes, that locking up people pre-trial who cannot pay bail is racist, that we do not grant fundamental rights to non-citizen residents, that we have a problem with child labor, that we deny our citizens their right to health (and particularly African Americans), that we deny rights to women, that we deny rights to gay people and people with gender identities that do not match their biological gender, and various other things. How many of these allegations are true? Our prisons are not inhumane. We do not lock up young people unless they commit crimes that justify locking them up. Keeping people in jail if they pose a flight risk makes sense, and there is nothing racist about doing so. We don’t even allow child labor except in certain situations. We do not deny anyone healthcare, even if they can’t afford to pay for it. People may sometimes go bankrupt because of the cost of healthcare, but we don’t deny people healthcare. Women here are equal to men. Some people may look down on gay people, but we don’t allow people to discriminate against them even when we should – freedom of association being a part of the ICCPR! As a matter of fact, most of the allegations the UN makes regarding our so-called human rights violations stem from the United States following the ICCPR. At the same time, there is no mention of America’s ongoing system of Apartheid.
Who is Burundi or Cuba to lecture us on human rights?
The United Nations gauges human rights the same way Philip Alston does – they start with the assumption that if all people are treated equally under the law, they will achieve equal outcomes. From this faulty premise, the United Nations cites the United States as violating human rights based solely on the fact that outcomes between people sometimes differ. I have a message to all of the Philip Alstons of the world: Culture Matters!
To add insult to injury, Philip Alston is looking for extreme poverty in the United States primarily in Appalachia, where our attempts to meet the IPCC’s recommendations on ‘green energy’ have decimated our coal industry. It makes absolutely no sense for there to be anything in some of the remote parts of Appalachia Philip Alston visited except to extract coal, so without a coal industry, of course those areas are hurting economically, and the only way to help those people (other than mining coal again) would be to have them move – which is the one answer Philip Alston is not going to recommend to the United Nations. Only the United Nations would recommend that people live where there is no economic opportunity.
The United Nations was created for a specific set of purposes: to maintain international peace and security, to promote self-determination and basic human rights, and to protect fundamental freedoms. Instead, the United Nations works to destroy statehood (and with it, self-determination), uses charges of human rights violations as political weapons while ignoring actual human rights violations (and placing some of the worst violators in charge of their commission on human rights), works to eliminate fundamental freedoms, and does almost nothing to maintain international peace and security. By any objective measure, the United Nations has failed at every single one of its mandates, and has morphed into a super-state that continuously tries to intrude on the sovereignty of the United States. And we pay them for that.
In terms of the efficacy of the United Nations, The Heritage Foundation had an outstanding report, which you can read here. Will the United States be able to fix the United Nations? Of course not – as the Heritage Foundation notes, though we pay far more money to fund the United Nations than does anyone else, all of the problem countries get the bulk of the votes. The United Nations has become a political organization whose sole political purpose is to extort money from the United States and other Western Powers. The United Nations has no interest in its actual mandate.
The United Nations is a joke. It is time for the United States to leave.