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May 05, 2004

Sudan on the UN Human Rights Commission?

This has been all over the place, that Sudan has retained its seat on the UN Human Rights Commission while engaging in genocidal attacks on its own citizens. What's suprised me is the surprise that is being shown. You mean you didn't know ? That the way the UN works was hidden ? 5 minutes googling got me to three lists. The members of the 2004 UN Human Rights Commission and Freedom House's 2004 listing of how free a country is and the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom.
The full comparative results are in the extended post.
Out of the 53 countries on the Commission there's only six which get a rating of " Free " as far as their economies go. Yes, fully four of those were either the UK or her colonies ( and six of the 23 politically free ), so perhaps the British Empire was good for something. The Heritage Foundation results are heavily skewed towards a free market, free trading ideology, as one might expect given the source. Sort of like being in favour of people being allowed to work as they will, trade as they will, feed their families as they will, the day to day freedoms that make up what is generally called Liberty.
Freedom House is a little different. It's talking about political freedoms. Votes, democracy, rule of law and the like. The bigger things, if you wish, things that we can't argue about, for with the economic ideas we can always say that people value security more than liberty, as indeed many do, or that equality is more important than wealth, as many others do. I might think, you might think, that those ideas are preposterous, yet it is still possible to understand where their proponents are coming from. With the Freedom House listings, no such agreement to disagree is possible. They are measuring the basic political and civil freedoms that make civilisation possible.
Where do they get their list of desirable qualities from ?

Since 1972, Freedom House has published an annual assessment of the state of freedom in all countries (and select territories), now known as Freedom in the World. Individual countries are evaluated based on a checklist of questions on political rights and civil liberties that are derived in large measure from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each country is assigned a rating for political rights and a rating for civil liberties based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest degree of freedom present and seven the lowest level of freedom. The combined average of each country’s political rights and civil liberties ratings determines an overall status of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a UN document. In fact, it's the one the Commission is supposed to be monitoring / upholding.
Now this might surprise you but it doesn't surpise me in the slightest.
Of the 53 members of the Commission only 23 are described as free under the criteria it is supposed to uphold. It isn't just Sudan. Comrade Bob and his genocidal starvation policies in Zimbabwe, Fidel and his socialist paradise which people will attempt to escape on inner tubes, Saudi Arabia and its theocracy/ feudal monarchy, Egypt with its death penalty for apostasy, well, the list goes on. There are 14 " Not Free " countries on this commission and 16 " Partly Free". A majority then of the members do not practise what they preach.
This is not an aberration, something unusual. This is, unfortunately, just the UN at work on a regular day.

BTW, the US contributes some 22 % of the UN budget, and the UK 5.5 % or so.
And for this we pay our taxes ?

Member Country Politically Free ? Economically Free ?

1. Argentina Free Mostly Unfree
2. Armenia Partly Free Mostly Free
3. Australia Free Free
4. Austria Free Mostly Free
5. Bahrain Partly Free Mostly Free
6. Bhutan Not Free Not Rated
7. Brazil Free Mostly Unfree
8. Burkina Faso Partly Free Mostly Unfree
9. Chile Free Free
10. China Not Free Not Rated
11. Congo Not Free Not Rated
12. Costa Rica Free Mostly Free
13. Croatia Free Mostly Unfree
14. Cuba Not Free Not Free
15. Dominican Republic Free Not Rated
16. Egypt Not Free Mostly Unfree
17. Eritrea Not Free Not Rated
18. Ethiopia Partly Free Mostly Unfree
19. France Free Mostly Free
20. Gabon Partly Free Mostly Unfree
21. Germany Free Mostly Free
22. Guatemala Partly Free Mostly Unfree
23. Hungary Free Mostly Free
24. Honduras Partly Free Mostly Unfree
25. India Free Mostly Unfree
26. Indonesia Partly Free Mostly Unfree
27. Ireland Free Free
28. Italy Free Mostly Free
29. Japan Free Mostly Free
30. Mauritania Not Free Mostly Free
31. Mexico Free Mostly Free
32. Nepal Partly Free Mostly Unfree
33. Netherlands Free Mostly Free
34. Nigeria Partly Free Mostly Unfree
35. Pakistan Not Free Mostly Unfree
36. Paraguay Partly Free Mostly Unfree
37. Peru Free Mostly Free
38. Qatar Not Free Mostly Free
39. Republic of Korea Free Mostly Free
40. Russian Federation Partly Free Mostly Unfree
41. Saudi Arabia Not Free Mostly Unfree
42. Sierra Leone Partly Free Mostly Unfree
43. South Africa Free Mostly Free
44. Sri Lanka Partly Free Mostly Unfree
45. Sudan Not Free Not Rated
46. Swaziland Not Free Mostly Unfree
47. Sweden Free Free
48. Togo Not Free Mostly Unfree
49. Uganda Partly Free Mostly Free
50. Ukraine Partly Free Mostly Unfree
51. United Kingdom Free Free
52. United States of America Free Free
53. Zimbabwe Not Free Not Free

May 5, 2004 in United Nations | Permalink


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» Some Hard Hitting Blogs Join The Virtual Uprising from Armies of Liberation
Tim Worstal in Portugul joins the coalition of the willing bloggers with this truely educational post noting [Read More]

Tracked on May 7, 2004 4:16:19 AM


Tim, theis is a great post
and quite educational. I'll be back to refer
to it again.

Posted by: Jane | May 6, 2004 12:18:06 AM

Thanks, Tim

Posted by: baldilocks | May 12, 2004 10:50:50 PM