Arizona vs. the U.N. human rights police
by Michelle Malkin
An indignant President Obama complained last week, “I can’t spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead.” Fine. How about plastering a copy of his presidential oath of office there instead? The kowtowing commander-in-chief is in dire need of a daily reminder that his job is to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” — not international law or global diktats.
Case in point: Last week, Obama’s State Department handed in America’s first-ever report to the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights in conjunction with something called the “Universal Periodic Review.” In short, the 29-page document (pdf) is a self-aggrandizing report card touting the administration’s far-left domestic and foreign policy initiatives for the world’s approval. The report boasts of racial- and gender-bean-counting in the executive branch; Justice Department outreach to Muslim grievance groups opposed to post-9/11 security measures; teachers’ union payoffs in the federal stimulus law; continuing commitment to closing the Gitmo detention facility for enemy combatants; and the illusory lifesaving effects of Obamacare on minorities through “expanding community health centers” (which have yet to be built, but not that it matters in our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president’s age of post-achievement).
The report also includes a section on “values and immigration,” which essentially singles out Arizona’s immigration enforcement law as a human rights deficiency “that is being addressed in a court action.”
In response, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer rightly blasted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration for succumbing to “internationalism run amok.” Brewer pointed out in a letter to Clinton, “Human rights as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions are expressly protected in S.B. 1070 and defended vigorously by my Administration. In fact, the Department of Justice has correctly not included these so-called ‘human rights’ issues in the current litigation against the State of Arizona.” Somehow, that inconvenient detail escaped the Foggy Bottom bureaucrats’ notice.
No one should be surprised, of course, that the Department of Blame America First is prostrating itself before the likes of repressive U.N. Human Rights Council members Libya, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and China. No one should be surprised that Obama’s globalist panderers couldn’t simply keep their mouths shut and refrain from trashing Americans with whom they disagree. In May, you’ll recall, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner preemptively trashed our country’s human rights record to Chinese government officials and humiliated Arizonans — and all Americans — who support states’ rights to protect their borders and enhance their security through strict immigration enforcement. An obsequious Posner called S.B. 1070 “a troubling trend in our society” in his bow-and-scrape conversations with the ChiComs.
The inclusion of Arizona in a politically correct catalogue of human rights and wrongs is more than “downright offensive,” as Brewer put it. It’s a national travesty. In the very same Obama administration document, the State Department praises the administration for its “robust protections for freedom of expression.” The report notes sanctimoniously: “As a general matter, the government does not punish or penalize those who peacefully express their views in the public sphere, even when those views are critical of the government. Indeed, dissent is a valuable and valued part of our politics.”
Yeah? Tell that to the Democratic members of Congress leading the punitive economic boycott and political demonization of Arizona. Or to Attorney General Eric Holder, who rushed to attack S.B. 1070 before he had even read it. Fresh off this U.N. mess, Holder’s Social Justice Department has launched yet another vendetta against Arizona. On Monday, DOJ filed suit against Phoenix-area community colleges because they imposed strict citizenship screening of potential employees.
As Obama throws America under the bus for the cause of open borders, the shady U.N. human rights police must be laughing their jackboots off.
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Unfortunately, the Administration fell victim to the temptation to aggrandize its record and disparage its opponents in several parts of the report. For instance, President Obama is referred to over 20 times in the 25-page report (minus appendices), and his health care reform is credited with vast achievements that have yet to be realized, if they ever will. The Administration deserves to be criticized for using politically what is supposed to be an objective report on the U.S. human rights record.
But, as discussed in a recent Heritage paper, the larger problem isn’t what is in the report; it is why we are participating in this farce in the first place. The Bush Administration rightly distanced the U.S. from the HRC and withheld the U.S. share of funding from it. When President Obama decided to support and engage the council, he extended America’s credibility to a fatally flawed body. He also made it inevitable that the U.S. would participate in the dog-and-pony UPR show that it has proven to be—a process little more than a “mutual praise society” for repressive regimes.
The Obama Administration was mistaken to believe it could improve the HRC from within as a member of the council. This is the inevitable result of its naïve faith—in defiance of record and reality—in multilateral institutions.
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