Tom Gross: The UN’s willful ignorance of modern-day slavery
Tom Gross, National Post | Feb 25, 2013 12:01 AM ET
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) begins its annual session in Geneva today by once again disgracing itself through the appointment of the West African country of Mauritania as its vice-president for the next year.
The UNHRC is the organization that, in the past, has cozied up to the Gaddafi and Assad regimes in Libya and Syria; that praised Sri Lanka’s human-rights record shortly after that country’s military killed more than 40,000 Tamil civilians; and that still exhibits at the entrance to its meeting hall, two pieces of art, one donated by Egypt’s Mubarak regime, the other with a plaque that reads, “A statue of Nemesis, Goddess of justice, donated by the Syrian government.”
It also appointed Alfred De Zayas as one of its leading advisors last December, despite the fact that his books on the Second World War portray Germans as victims and the Allies as perpetrators of “genocide.” De Zayas, while not denying the Holocaust himself, has nonetheless become a hero to many Holocaust deniers, and his sayings are featured on many of their websites. He has called for Israel to be expelled from the UN, while defending the ruthless Iranian regime.
And now Mauritania has been chosen by the UNHRC to help preside over worldwide human rights for the next 12 months. Mauritania, although all-but ignored by mainstream human-rights groups, is a country that allows 20% of its citizens, about 800,000 people, some as young as 10, to live as slaves.