I modsætning til på den hjemlige scene er der blandt amerikanske borgerlige en livlig aktivitet på menneskerettighedsområdet. National Review havde i torsdags således hele to artikler, vedrørende emnet. Artiklerne tager hul på den kamp om menneskerettighedernes natur, som er nødvendig, hvis disse rettigheder skal fortsætte med at give mening i fremtiden, noget som den seneste tids Mohammed-strid i mine øjne tydeligt har understreget behovet for. Artiklerne kritiserer FNs bestræbelser på menneskerettighedsområdet (ligesom jeg selv har gjort) og advokerer, at liberale-demokratier opretter et alternativt menneskerettighedsforum til FN.
I en af artiklerne skriver Brett D. Schaeffer bl.a.:
Despite [..] the fact that each U.N. member state is party to at least one of the seven major human-rights treaties, the U.N. in recent decades has failed miserably to promote basic human rights in practice. Perhaps no institution illustrates this more than the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. […]Sadly, the commission has devolved into a feckless organization that human-rights abusers use to block criticism or action promoting human rights. Six of the fifty-three members of the commission in 2005 were considered among the world's "worst of the worst" abusers of human rights by Freedom House. China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe were members of the Commission in 2005.
[…]Governments, non-governmental organizations, and others seeking to strengthen observance of basic human rights should not let affection for the U.N. blind them to its inability to hold abusers to account. As noted by the bipartisan U.N. Task Force, "[U]ntil the United Nations holds its members accountable for their failure to observe well-established human rights norms, the United Nations is not the best forum for the proposed Human Rights Council." Instead, advocates should seek to establish a human rights body that is independent from the U.N. and open only to democracies that respect political and economic freedom. Because representative governments already practice political freedom and basic human rights, they are most likely to promote those standards.
Human-rights advocates should not shy away from uncomfortable truths. Perhaps the U.N. will one day be dominated by democratic states that respect the freedoms of their citizens and demand similar standards from all U.N. member states. But that is not the U.N. of today. The likely failure of the U.S. and other nations to create a smaller, more effective Human Rights Council that excludes human-rights abusers and non-democracies from membership should be a clear sign that the U.N. cannot serve as the focal point for human-rights abuses. If the U.N. cannot serve as the primary vehicle in pursuit of that goal, the U.S. and like minded countries should pursue alternatives.
Med udgangspunkt i FN systemets fiaskoer skriver Joseph Loconte bl.a.:
[..]Apologists for repressive governments, of course, love to talk this way: Farm subsidies are the moral equivalent of women being brutalized by militias in Congo or sold into sexual slavery in Cambodia. Or, in the case of Pakistan, of religious minorities being jailed and assaulted for allegedly violating blasphemy laws. In other words, no nation's political culture is better or worse than any other's.
It is not just problematic regimes that debase the concept of human rights with this kind of evasion. This is the logic of multiculturalism, an ethos that infects the United Nations from top to bottom. Echoed endlessly in U.N. reports and resolutions, this ethos has helped create a deep-seated cynicism about the nature of human rights. More than any other factor, it threatens to derail the current effort to reform the Human Rights Commission before its March meeting in Geneva.
U.N. defenders shrug all this off by claiming that the United Nations is only as good as its member states. That's a half-truth: By giving dictatorships equal voting power with democracies, the system almost guarantees that no meaningful agreement can be reached as to what counts as a violation of human rights. John Prendergast, senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, emphasizes the political will of the Security Council: "All the reports and speeches of these U.N. bodies count for nothing," he says, "if the Security Council is not prepared to fulfill its responsibilities." True enough. Yet it's hard to conceive of non-democratic states and there are plenty of them on the Security Council eager to fulfill their human-rights obligations, especially when there are no serious consequences for failing to do so.
Shouldn't the task of defending fundamental human rights be limited to democratic states with a measurable record of success? And if such an alliance can't function effectively within the United Nations, isn't it time to consider operating outside of it?
A growing number of scholars, it seems, believes it is. Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution and James Lindsay at the Council on Foreign Relations have called for the creation of a new coalition of democracies "to confront common security challenges." Ruth Wedgewood, professor of international law and organizations at Johns Hopkins University, argues for a U.S. policy of "competitive multilateralism" that is, creating informal coalitions outside of the United Nations to tackle issues of mutual concern. "There still seems to be no momentum for change at the United Nations," she writes. "If things can't be changed from within, members may need to vote with their feet, one issue at a time." Joshua Muravchik, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is equally blunt. "The effort to be a proto-world government is the crux of the U.N.'s worst failings," he writes in The Future of the United Nations. Rather, he argues, a group of democracies could form a committee on human rights to "forthrightly condemn and publicize egregious abuses."
Disse tider viser, hvor vigtigt det er at stå fast på grundlæggende vestlige værdier som basale menneskerettigheder utvivlsom udgør en vigtig bestanddel af. Et alternativ til FN på menneskerettighedsområdet, som fokuserede på kombinationen af grundlæggende politisk, borgerlig og økonomisk frihed, frem for rettighedsbaseret udviklingshjælp, menneskerettigheder og globalisering, kollektive rettigheder og anden relativisme, som udvander menneskerettighederne og ophæver forskelsbedømmelsen mellem frie og totalitære lande, ville være udtryk for vestlig principfasthed af den bedste og mest inspirerende slags.