The club of tyranny

Posted By Melanie Phillips On July 14, 2008 @ 7:39 am In Daily Mail | Comments Disabled

Daily Mail, 14 July 2008

So, Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution to impose international sanctions on key members of Zimbabwe's government. The British government's entire diplomatic strategy on Zimbabwe has thus ignominiously collapsed.

This is a particular humiliation for Gordon Brown after he thought he had persuaded all the G8 countries — including Russia -to back punitive measures against the Mugabe regime.

Our Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, says he is very disappointed’. Is he really that wet behind the ears? Just what did he expect?

Apart from what this denouement tells us about our worsening relations with Russia, it has long been clear that the UN is the very last place to look for action against despotism, terror or tyranny.

For sure, Zimbabwe presents clear enough cause for UN action. The sanctions were proposed after Mugabe was re-elected’ as Zimbabwe’s president in a travesty of a poll in which extreme violence forced the opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, to withdraw.

This, in turn, took place against a background of systematic intimidation, torture and mass murder of Zimbabwe’s terrorised population by Mugabe’s henchmen.

The opposition says 113 of its activists have been killed since March. Last weekend, another of its officials, Gift Mutsvungunu, was found dead in a suburb of Harare. His body had been partly burned and his eyes gouged out.

Russia said, however, that there was no need for sanctions, which it described as an attempt to meddle in the affairs of a member state which presented no threat to international peace and security.

But Zimbabwe’s terror regime presents a real threat to regional peace and security. And, in any case, there is a moral requirement to act. If the UN doesn’t take action to prevent uncontrollable barbarism by one of its member states, then what in heaven’s name is the point of having the UN at all?

Of course, Russia and China are simply motivated by brazen cynicism and self-interest. Not only are they increasingly flexing their muscles, they also don’t want the UN poking its nose into their own human rights abuses.

Mr Miliband was hoping that outsourcing the problem of Zimbabwe to the UN would relieve Britain of the task of doing something about a country for whose terrible fate, after all, Britain bears a historic responsibility.

The slap in the face he has received in response is all the more stinging because of the particular place the UN enjoys in the pantheon of progressive’ politics.

Western progressives have come to believe that the nation state is responsible for all the ills of the world, from prejudice to nationalism and war. The only legitimate institutions are therefore trans-national ones which purport to represent the brotherhood of man.

So trans-national bodies and doctrines, such as the UN, EU, International Criminal Court or European human rights law, trump our own national institutions and laws.

The UN was established after World War II with the most noble of aims, to ensure that the world never again allowed the horrors of Nazism to happen. But like all attempts to create Utopia, this produced instead a monster.

For the world consists of many wicked regimes. As more and more countries joined the UN, its moral mission was turned on its head so that, by 2003, only 75 UN members were free democracies.

The result is a UN characterised by endemic incompetence, corruption and worse. It has repeatedly failed to prevent atrocities.

It did nothing to prevent genocide in Rwanda in 1994; it stood by while more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslims were slaughtered in Srebrenica the following year; and it sat on its hands for 20 years while Muslim militias committed genocide in Southern Sudan and wiped out some two million souls.

One mission was dispatched to examine the killings in Darfur. When it returned with a report criticising the Sudanese government, the UN’s grotesquely misnamed Human Rights Council refused to endorse it or accept its recommendations.

The UN Development Programme has been authoritatively accused of fraud and corruption. Saddam Hussein not only siphoned off some $10 billion from the UN’s oil-for-food programme, but the UN official overseeing that programme was allegedly on the huge list of those receiving kickbacks — as was the son of the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

A classified UN report detailed 150 allegations that UN peacekeepers and staff sexually attacked and exploited war refugees in the Congo in exchange for food. Similar allegations of sexual misconduct by UN staff stretch back at least a decade to operations in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

The UN persistently ignores global abuses and supports their perpetrators instead. Astoundingly, it has passed not one resolution against despotic regimes such as China, Russia or Cuba.

It has approved not one resolution against the Arab and Muslim state sponsors of terrorism. Instead, it displayed its contempt for the rule of law and the value of human life by actually endorsing terrorism when, in 1982, it affirmed the legitimacy of actions against foreign domination by all available means including armed struggle’.

While thus ignoring or endorsing Arab and Muslim terror, it passes an unending stream of resolutions against Israel, the principal victim of such terror — but the only country subjected to an investigatory mandate that examines the actions of only one side.

Days before 9/11, the UN’s anti-racist’ conference in Durban turned into a grotesque hate-fest against Israel and Jews. Now it is planning a second such conference next year in Geneva — preparations for which are being led by Libya and Iran, which denies the Holocaust and repeatedly announces it intends to wipe Israel off the map.

Despite the fact that the UN’s Human Rights Council was supposed to end the abuses perpetrated by its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, the continued domination of this Council by oppressive states means it is still acting to suppress human rights.

Hence its recent outrageous decision to ban altogether any criticism of Islamic sharia law, which is responsible for such abuses as women being stoned to death for adultery or young men being hanged for being gay.

With the support of China, Russia and Cuba, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference — which represents the 57 Islamic states — forced through a measure which requires the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to report anyone who speaks out against sharia law, on the grounds that such criticism represents religious discrimination.

This Orwellian diktat is but the latest evidence that, far from upholding freedom and human rights against their abuse, the UN is simply a club of tyranny.

Yet, grotesquely, it is regarded as the supreme arbiter of international affairs, without whose imprimatur it is illegitimate to act. The fear is that without it the world will descend into anarchy. But the dismal truth is that the UN is the principal engine for the perpetuation of chaos, terror, misery and injustice across the world.

It is high time we abolished this obscene institution and created instead a United Democratic Nations to promote freedom and justice.

The vote on Zimbabwe has implications going way beyond Africa. It is but the latest wake-up call about the UN — and ignoring it means that the world’s ostensible concern for Zimbabwe and all such abuses are nothing other than crocodile tears.

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