The most refreshing news to come along during my years covering the United Nations was the arrival of Ambassador Nikki Haley at U.N. headquarters last January, and her performance since in trying to shake things up at that rigid institution.
Already, Ambassador Haley has called out the U.N.’s blatant bias against Israel. She managed to persuade the U.N. Secretary General to pull a slanderous U.N. report labeling Israel as an apartheid state from the U.N.’s official Web site.
This month, while serving as the president of the Security Council, she chaired the U.N. Security Council’s latest perennial debate on the situation in the Mideast, including the Palestinian question. Ambassador Haley criticized past sessions as too narrowly focused against Israel and counter-productive. Instead, she said, it was time to focus on "the chief culprit: Iran and its partner militia, Hezbollah."
That is exactly what she did during the remarks she made to the Security Council in her national capacity.
Ambassador Haley has also made some limited progress in pushing for cost reductions and reforms in the U.N.’s vast peacekeeping operations. The U.S. currently pays about 28 percent of the U.N.’s peacekeeping budget, which the Trump administration plans to reduce to 25 percent. The need for reform is urgent. Sex abuse cases involving U.N. peacekeepers have gone on for years — with little or no accountability.
Ambassador Haley has her work cut out for her. The institution that is the U.N. is resistant to change. It has developed an insular culture, one which has created over the years a bloated, corrupt, and self-serving bureaucracy, one utterly resistant to any real accountability or reform.
The U.N.'s many councils, commissions, committees, and officials have no problem butting their noses into the domestic affairs of the member states, including the U.S., while utterly failing to practice what they preach. Bad, old habits die hard.
Case in point is the recent election of Saudi Arabia, a country where women are treated as little more than chattel, to a seat on the U.N. women’s rights commission. This commission is supposed to focus on "promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women," according to the U.N.
Exactly how will Saudi Arabia contribute to that endeavor, given its abysmal record on women’s rights? As Hillel Neuer, director of U.N. Watch put it, "Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief."
Second case in point involves the U.N. intruding into the Obamacare debate. The Washington Post has recently reported on a transmittal letter from the U.N. Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights, dated Feb. 2, 2017, forwarding to the then acting U.S. Secretary of State, Thomas Shannon, Jr., a complaint from one of the U.N.’s special rapporteurs about plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. This busybody, trumpeting his mandate from the dysfunctional U.N. Human Rights Council to report "on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health," claimed that efforts underway to make changes to Medicaid, tax subsidies, and the employer and individual mandates could "violate" international law.
He set forth a number of requests for detailed information on the legislative initiatives and their impacts. He also called for measures "to guarantee the accountability of any person responsible of the alleged violations" of international law.
How about asking first for accountability of the persons responsible in U.N. peacekeeping for the spread of cholera in Haiti, resulting in thousands of deaths, before lecturing the U.S. about what to do with its healthcare system?
While the U.N. secretary general’s spokesperson tried to distance the U.N. from the opinions of the special rapporteur by pointing to his independent status, the special rapporteur received his mandate from an official body of the U.N., the Human Rights Council, and intends to submit his critical report to that body.
Moreover, the special rapporteur’s letter went out under a cover transmittal from the chief of the Special Procedures branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the subject line in all caps, "Urgent Appeal From Special Procedures." Clearly, the U.N. was placing its institutional imprimatur on the contents of the special rapporteur’s letter.
Finally, the United Nations has become a giant money pit, draining funds from the more developed member states, particularly the United States, for dubious, often wasteful, projects. Looking ahead, the U.N. is looking for literally hundreds of trillions of dollars more to pay for United Nations-led climate change initiatives of questionable value, and for a vast wealth distribution program known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Ambassador Haley will need all the support she can muster in trying to change the U.N. for the better.
Joseph A. Klein is a featured author for FrontPage Magazine and the United Nations correspondent for Canada Free Press. He has also authored the books "Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom" and "Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam." Klein, a Harvard Law school alumnus and practicing attorney, has been a guest on many radio shows as a commentator and has appeared on several TV shows including "Fox & Friends." For more of this reports — Click Here Now.
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