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Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN.
by Anthony Ravlich
Email: anthony_ravlich (nospam) yahoo.com
19 Apr 2014
Dissent within human rights groups grows after article Profound Arrogance at UN, the latter virtually seeing themselves as God when reinventing the UDHR to emphasize elite interests rather than individual rights.
Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN.
Human Rights Council (New Zealand)
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Ph: (0064) (09) 940.9658
Greater signs of dissent are evident within human rights groups following the article,‘‘Profound’ Arrogance at UN’.
The article describes the arrogant gross abuse of power, which I consider is ‘profound’ i.e. virtually seeing themselves as God, by the bureaucratic elites at the UN who reinvented human rights to emphasize elite interests rather than individual rights as required by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (see “’Profound’ Arrogance at UN, Scoop New Zealand, 30 March 2014,
The emphasis on elite interests is a consequence of the whole UDHR being made compatible with IMF globalization policies which are elitist (i.e. general agreement ‘trickle down’ does not happen) and results in a ‘neoliberal absolutism’, which is a ‘top-down’, ‘near absolute’ control of all behavior covered under the declaration.
In direct contrast i.e. a diametric opposition between ‘top-down’ versus ‘bottom-up’, the ethical approach human rights, development and globalization (global ethical human rights) is ‘bottom-up’ based on the individual as in the UDHR.
And while ‘neoliberal absolutism’ politicizes the declaration to the extreme i.e. for a minority, the ethical approach retains its universality i.e. for all (for a description of ethical human rights see, ‘Global turn-around: to persuade Western Powers to adopt ‘bottom-up’ ethical human rights’, San Francisco Bay Indymedia, 4 March 2014, https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/03/04/18751943.php ).
The article, ‘Profound Arrogance at UN’, elicited many likes and a number of comments on linkedin, a social networking site for professionals. In addition to a further post it led to my being top contributor in two Amnesty International groups, also in Human Rights at Work and twice in Civil Society Global Network.
Also, much criticism was leveled at America for its human rights record as determined by the UN Human Rights Committee which ‘catalogued a string of human rights concerns, notably on the mass surveillance exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden’ (this discussion can be found towards the end of this article).
Also, there was discussion on claims by Edward Snowden that the US National Security Agency spied on human rights groups.
(In addition, the ethical human rights perspective on climate change is given below).
The following are comments by largely independent professionals on the article,‘‘Profound’ Arrogance at UN’:
Irene Njeri, Consultant Advisor at UN (10yrs), Central African Republic, states:
“The problem with approaching human rights like the animals in George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' is that it always comes back to haunt. Only a matter of time..................”
Divino Roberto Veríssimo, therapist, Gama, Federal District, Brazil, states:
“Certainly their work [the UN] is important . But, is it possible a route of action that exceeds the competition, the violence of reactions of the confrontation and accusations on both sides on the use of law by humanists and economistic ? I have these points to note:
1 ) There is, in fact , ethical Rights . Because ethics is not "Right" . Ethics is base of training about unity, identity, social education , human rights , properties and behavior skills , production and life of societies. It involves the human rights, but no constitute an Right. It is what is called " principles " and conduct guidelines in law or life for citizens in situations of wealth, sickness, poverty , joy , sadness, or exercise of rights and powers .
2 ) We need, without leaving the discussion of rights , advance directives for the implementation of the rule of law today gathered by UN and civil society in major international conferences and in several different treaties, conventions and declarations of the peoples and nations (such as UDHR) - all performed with great propriety .
3 ) Lack only articulation and an effort to overcome the competition for this task.
We could make this effort ? We can generate a mobilization and cultural union in this direction?
Julie Fisher Melton, Author of Importing Democracy; retired Program Officer, Kettering Foundation, Portland, Maine area, states:
“High standards are crucial, so I like what you write. But change never happens the way we expect or hope, and it is often agonizingly slow. The last chapter of my book on democratization NGOs is a 12 step program for international donors, and some of it overlaps with what you write. One difference may be something I have noticed when working for INGOs-- those that do their homework (granted, a minority) do a far better job and are less arrogant. There must be some individuals within the UN like that as well” (see www.importingdemocracy.org)
Peter Pappenheim, Author of "The conceptual foundations of decision-making in a democracy", Manager Marketing Planning, Rotterdam, Netherlands, states:
“The decisive experience of my life was the seamless passage from the second world war into the cold war. Its end heralded a plethora of new threats. Democracy seemed the only acceptable type of government but proved ineffective, caught in the paradox between an a priori and thus undemocratic principle or a set of procedures. Procedures are but means, so it seemd logical to ask: means for what? What do all those want who opt for democracy? That proved fruitful, see my website. For instance it leads to the conlcusion that the Universal Declaration of Hunan Rights cannnot as yet be universallhy applicable” (See http:www.project-democracy.com/?p=107)
A discussion on Human Rights Watch which led to criticism of the America government was a report entitled ‘Edward Snowden Claims NSA Spied on Rights Group’ (New York, April 8, 2014). It stated that the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor told the Council of Europe that the NSA spied on human rights organizations.
My comment followed a number of criticisms (no comments followed):
anthony ravlich, My book, 'Freedom from our social prisons...' (2008) (recommended on UN website for 2 yrs) was to my knowledge the only significant dissent regarding the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant. For much different reasons to mine America opposed the OP throughout the 4 years of discussions at the UN. In my view when the OP was adopted on 10 December 2008 it meant that civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights would be of equal status however the OP permitted compatibility with IMF globalization policies which emphasize elites the result being that in their implementation human rights (now involving the whole UDHR, I call it neoliberal absolutism) emphasizes elites rather than individuals which they are meant to do. See my article, 'Profound' Arrogance at the UN (Scoop NZ). The effect of the adoption of the OP in 2008 was a global ideological rebalance of power from the West to other regions which, in my view, would have been the major cause of the global financial crisis of 2009 affecting the West by far the worst - BUT all this has been hidden from the global public by the leadership of human rights organizations and leadership of the global establishment and mainstream media seemingly acting in collusion. I consider the latter leaderships are extremely disingenuous and I consider the UN responsible for a global crime against humanity. And this might explain why human rights organizations attracted the interest of the American government seeing that the global rebalance of power would also mean much greater influence by authoritarian regimes at the UN. I now have another book contract on the subject 'replacing neoliberal absolutism: ethical human rights, development and globalization' so this truth will not be going away.
I also posted the following:
“In my view, only one State, America would be best, fighting for universal rights would be needed to bring down the Profoundly Arrogant UN’s neoliberal absolutist agenda (I referred members to my comments in Occupy Everywhere on ‘US Human Rights Record Criticized – UN Report’, which are at the bottom of this article).
Issa Sufvan Hussein, Legal Consultant & Program officer , Human Rights Program at United Nations Assistance Mission In Iraq, stated:
“I hope US will comply with UN requests to save the reputation of America as supporter for protecting human rights. Its a sad fact, I used to mention US as a good example for my students when I talk about HR, but after this report I will use it as example for HR violation. Let us hope that honest American human rights protectors in US will work to clean the US mess in the world of HR”,
Cynthia Rossetti, Human Rights Activist, Writing and Editing, Cape Coral, Florida, stated:
“I know many are trying but we are not heard. Our voices ignored”.
Issa Sufvan Hussein, Your voices are heard at least by UN, but its bigger issue related to your Government. Let us hope that positive change will happen, because if the government didn't comply then it will ruin USA reputation and credibility a lot
Cynthia Rossetti, I think we have to work to clean up the HR in the US first. We are fighting for our constitutional rights and basic Human Rights and yes, we should help whenever possible. However, I do not believe we should police the rest of the world. I actually posted under the wrong discussion but am happy to give my opinion.
anthony ravlich, Issa, I'm a NZer by the way. I haven't had time to fully analyze the reports re US by the UN. It appears many of the problems stem from the US reaction (or perhaps overreaction) to terrorism. I'd also like statistics re torture i.e. how many killed, left with permanent damage, suicides. A glaring omission, probably because authoritarian States would now have much greater influence at UN, is Article 18 (considered non-derogable) i.e, individual freedom of thought, expression and belief. Independent minds, the gifted and deserving have been, in my view, major casualties since the introduction of neoliberalism - resulting in the prevailing mediocrity and getting worse. The UN introduced a neoliberal absolutism (which the US fought against in the UN discussions from 2004 to 2008) which is a near absolute control of all human behavior covered under the UDHR, I consider the latter reinvention of human rights in elite interests rather than emphasizing the individual as human rights is meant to do is profoundly arrogant. Consequently I think it is hypocritical of the UN to sit in judgment re US or any other country for that matter. I'd like to see the US and other countries claim their right to self-determination and sort out their own problems while fighting peacefully to have global ethical human rights reflected in domestic and international human rights law. However, as I state above I think it would just take one country to do this to see the fall of neoliberal absolutism. In my view, global ethical human rights just needs to get sufficient coverage in the mainstream media to reach the global democratic majority. People will, in my view, eventually choose freedom [with social responsibility] over a fanatical control and history sides with sovereignty.
Jack Sigman, MA in International Relations, AMU ’13, Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies, Fort Myers, Florida, stated:
“I think Norway might do a better job. But they are reserving their trillion dollar surplus for the sole benefit of Norwegians. They'll just keep talking while millions die in the undeveloped states”.
Dr Milad Elharathi, Zeid Al-Bayaty, Middle East Programme Officer, at The CARA Team, Benghazi University, Libya, states:
“Human rights of today it looks like sing songs everywhere…and every time….”.
Gordon Macpherson, Rights Respecting Schools Award Assessor at UNICEF, Scotland Malawi Partnership, states:
“As far as I know, for children, if the parents are irresponsible, then the government of the country must take responsibility. I suspect that for adults the same should be true”.
Archana Krishna Privam, child’s ambassador at Aashrai Mauritius, states:
“USA you all have the best of country regarding protection and help to all.
Be happy to have the chance to have such opportunities”.
Katrin Urban, MA Candidate, Gender Studies, Carleton University, Ontario, Canada, stated:
“ Umm, OR it would not just be one state. Cause one state knows best? And this one state is America? I do not mean to be rude, but that is ludicrous”.
anthony ravlich, Katrin, not one State knows best but rather the ethical approach to human rights, development and globalization they fight for is firmly based on the universality of the UDHR. If you like, the UDHR could be said to know best, at least, in my view, it’s the best we've got. As for my choice of America - American independent professionals were amongst the first to lend support to the ethical approach which tells me the desire for truth still exists in the US i.e. not in complete darkness. I strongly disagree with the US's ideological stance at the UN (I strongly believe in economic, social and cultural rights and the US does not). I would like to see the US revisit Roosevelt's 2nd bill of rights and adopt an ethical approach which is bottom-up based on the individual (as per UDHR). But in opposing the creation of a neoliberal absolutism we can, in my view, only be grateful to America that it stood its ground in opposition to neoliberal absolutism which means, in everyday terms, near absolute top-down control of all human behavior covered under the UDHR. Of course, in this rigid 'top-down' structure elites will be the major beneficiary materially (paid well for their silence) - now being a 'bird in a gilded cage' may seem appealing to some but I do not think for long as, in my view, 'people are not machines' able to be subjected to such fanatical control - and I wasn't being rude re 'bird in a gilded cage' - in fact, I think it is very courageous of you to speak your mind - global ethical human rights is virtually banned from the mainstream. I am a seeker of truth and a human rights author so for me an independent mind is very important. Thanks.
The following is a discussion in Occupy Everywhere on ‘US Human Rights Record Criticized in UN Report”. The report was delivered by the UN’s Human Rights Committee in an assessment of how the US is complying with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR], which has been in force since the mid 1970s.
The UN report is described as cataloguing ‘a string of human rights concerns, notably on the mass surveillance exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden’ (see popular resistance.org, http://www.popularresistance.org/us-human-rights-record-criticized-in-un/).
anthony ravlich, I am happy to be human rights transparent - I believe in an ethical approach to human rights, development and globalization - but I am not sure where those human right professionals that criticize America are coming from - because if it is the political human rights agenda of the UN then, because I am trying to determine the truth, I would not take them too seriously - see my article presently getting a lot of coverage on the internet - 'Profound' Arrogance of UN creates elitist human rights. In my view, America still seems to respect truth, and prepared to stand alone, more than the great majority of States. Unfortunately, in my view, many of those that criticize America seem to have 'good hearts' but 'heads' captured by the UN's agenda. It would be helpful if human rights professionals were human rights transparent so I can ascertain the force of their opinion.
Craig Blumhagen, Owner at Coastal Support Services, Fund Raising, Saco Maine, states:
Anthony - I live here and condemn our human rights record, and I'm not a UN Human Rights Activist. I've seen the violations, first-hand. I could publish a litany of them, but do not have the time right now. We make great sounding patriotic slogans, sign great treaty's, pass great laws, and then oppress minorities, youth, elderly, disabled, drug addicted, poor. We support dictatorships throughout the world to protect the interests of corporations and the economic elite. We fight and/or instigate illegal wars (under false pretenses), causing countless civilian deaths (which we conveniently call "collateral damage), use our CIA and other agencies for assassinations, coup d'etats (JFK?), proxy wars, torture and mayhem in general. We are not the shining beacon of freedom and democracy they fed us government propaganda about in school. Read about Pol Pot and how our CIA, and illegal bombing campaign brought him to power leading to one of the most horrendous genocides in modern history, then read about Cointelpro and how the anti-war movement was destroyed by government agencies. You sure have some nice rose lensed glasses there, can you tell me where I can get a pair?
Landis Lafreuge, Human Rights Technologist, Bell, California, states:
@All: Take a second look at the article which Anthony Ravlich is talking about:
Past supporters of the UN, both influential and not so influential, have distanced themselves in mass, due to this and other concerns.
I do think that being "human rights transparent," a term which you (?) have newly coined and which I am considering, requires that the first principles of human rights must be applied to individual statements and actions by organizations or entities, and that authority must be built upon common respect of principles, rather than by force or fallacy. Like the saying goes, even "a broken clock is right twice a day."
anthony ravlich, Landis, you may be interested to know that duties to the community e.g. human rights transparency and necessary to inform voters, while included in the UDHR has been left out of international human rights law i.e. the two covenants, so they do not have to tell you anything if they do not want to - and they don't!. Also, as for having ;rose tinted glasses - Craig's comment - well I tend to think that NZ most likely capitulated to the will of the UN much sooner than the US. I fought hard to have economic, social and cultural rights in NZ back in 1991 (NZ played a prime role in having them included in the UDHR and so did the US i.e. Roosevelt's 2nd bill of rights, but the US rejected it as did NZ. Now that the UN has resurrected the latter rights they then reinvented them to serve the purpose of elites (i.e. made to accommodate IMF's elitist globalization policies (i.e. to the considerable detriment of the domestic free market and the 'little guy' who could employ others). Anyway when the 'dust had settled' I came to appreciate the fact that at least there were still individuals seeking truth (and for Craig's information Americans were amongst the first to support the ethical approach I advocate). The truth has set humanity free from much that is brutal in nature and inflicted by humans. In my view, those that rule us hate freedom i.e. why would anyone want to have such fanatical control over you. Personally I have enough trouble controlling myself.
Craig Blumhagen, anthony - I agree we should have and still should pass FDR'S Bill of Rights, the problem is the elite running this Country won't allow it! My comment about rose-tinted glasses is demonstrated by your statement: "and for Craig's information Americans were amongst the first to support the ethical approach I advocate," as the truth is we may OFFICIALLY SUPPORT IT, but OUR PRACTICES SHOW WE INTENTIONALLY DISREGARD IT (or do you consider carpet bombing Basra and causing 80.000 civilian deaths as being "human rights transparent,?" Referemce: The Fire This Time: American War Crimes in the Persian Gulf War, Ramsey Clarke, ex - U.S. Attorney General. The U.N. is a great idea, but as proven by Russia's recent actions in the Ukraine, and Security Council veto, has been rendered toothless and ineffective. Otherwise, why did 100.000's of Hutus and Tutsis die while the world sat on the sidelines?
anthony ravlich, Craig, I wasn't referring to the US State Dept and the Open Democracy Initiative of the White House who both supported the ethical approach on the internet. Rather I was referring to a number of independent professionals from America who did. Also, re Basra I have very little knowledge of US foreign policy - I have been so busy finding a universal approach to human rights because I see ideology as mass killing. But thanks for taking me to task on this - I was lacking clarity on certain very important matters which I don't feel good about - I should have been more aware the first time you mentioned Basra. All I can say re Basra is that Germany committed some horrendous crimes during WW2 but I think all they could really do was to keep going while also facing up to what they had done. If what you say is true re Basra then this might also be the case with the US. In fact, for some time I thought Germany would be a good country to adopt and promote ethical human rights. I considered because of its past, for which I think it has probably suffered much for, it would be a country least likely to capitulate to evil. But because the US is prepared to stand alone on what it believes in (e.g. at the UN it seemed by far the least compromising in its opposition to the creation of 'neoliberal absolutism' throughout the four yrs of discussions) - so I could inform the OD Initiative of the White House, about two years after they supported the ethical approach, that I thought the US would be the best country to adopt and promote the ethical approach. In my view, countries with any respect for individual rights should reject the 'profoundly arrogant' UN human rights agenda, including the elitist IMF policies and promote the ethical approach - in my view, it would just take one country to do this and get mass mainstream media coverage and I think neoliberal absolutism would collapse unable to withstand the powerful moral force of the universal ethical approach based on the UDHR.
Craig Blumhagen, anthony - It was the US that carpet-bombed Nasra, it was the U.S. that invaded Iraq under false pretenses (LIES), causing nearly 500,000 civilian deaths. So, while I applaud what this administration PRONOUNCES, I think you need to wear clear glasses and view it against what this Country HAS DONE (both overseas and here in our own Country). The other factor, you are not considering is the fluidity and continual change in America's policies due to the 8 year term limit on a Presidency. So, even though the Obama administration signed an OD Initiative 2 years ago, (1) what has been DONE since then? (2) There are GOP Candidates seeking the Presidency that want to totally repudiate and want us to withdraw from the U.N. Also, we are the so-called leader of the Free World, but in reality, my country backs dictators, sells more weapons than any other Country, has committed a litany of horrors around the world to protect the economic interests of the Corporations and wealthy that truly run this country. I love your idealism, and, in fact, support it. I just think you need to step back, study our history and then compare our lofty ideals and words, against our ACTIONS (which I believe reveal our true intent). The thoughts of Independent Professionals can be persuasive, but it's the power structure that implements policy, strategy, and reality of existence, not the professional individuals. For example, almost every professional in the United States believes in Global Warming, and the corrective steps recommended, yet there is still a debate in parts of our Government as to whether Global Warming is even real, or a liberal plot. So, the question is who benefits from keeping an accepted scientific theory in controversy? The wealthy energy industry and the wealthy elite that benegfits from coal mining, coal fired power plants, and use of bio-carbon fuels. So, my final point is "PERCEPTION" vs. "REALITY."
anthony ravlich, Once during the Cold War it was an ideological battle between those that believed in civil and political rights e.g. freedom and democracy, and those that championed economic, social and cultural rights e.g. social justice, no class exploitation. Now, it seems, it is about getting America to be subservient to neoliberal absolutism, a 'near absolute control which protects class interests, as created by the UN. The latter ideology, in my view, crushes the human spirit and potential is taking the world on a self-destructive course. I consider the problem is that human rights have been hijacked with the UDHR reinvented to emphasize elites interests rather than individual rights. The ethical human rights approach, which is still universal, I advocate just makes the UDHR a more realistic 'dream'. So rather than America being the problem it’s really about regaining the universality of the UDHR. What I consider would help is human rights transparency. I have always exercised a duty to inform people of important human rights truths e.g. we live in a democracy and voters need to be informed. I consider it necessary to be human rights transparent i.e. whether yours is an ideological or universal position - for example are you telling only half the truth and if we replace one ideology with another will we, in fact, just go from the frying pan into the fire. In my view, millions of lives are at stake as well as the future of the UDHR and there is no place for deceit in human rights. If you oppose the universality of the UDHR in favor of elite interests you will also most likely have to take responsibility for your choice - while I consider the US's ideological position is very flawed at least it stood firm on what it believed in and was the most ardent in its opposition to neoliberal absolutism - its also important to know whether those that oppose the US, sometimes bordering on venom, are supporters of 'near absolute' control and are merely promoting their class interests.
Craig Blumhagen, Actually, our government is a Democratic-Republic, not a Democracy. In fact, many conclude it is a Plutocracy - "A government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy." Ramsey Clarke posits that in his book and the First Persian Guilf War, and I ascribe to that belief also. All you have to do is look at the day-to-day operations of our government, like all the talk about Tax Reform, and yesterday's passing/renewal of multitudes of tax breaks for the wealthy. Again, you are focusing on WORDS when you say America stood firm on what it believed in and was the most ardent in opposition to neoliberal absolutism." (Fancy phrase), whereas I focus on our ACTIONS - AS THEY REVEAL TRUE INTENT. And no I'm neither a supporter of "near absolute" control, nor am I promoting mine nor anybody else's class interests. I'm just saying words on paper are meaningless, if not matched by actions on the ground!.
anthony ravlich, Further to Craig, well the actions that America took was not to ratify the Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (one of the very few countries not to - I strongly support the Covenant but properly interpreted i.e. not in elite interests) - it has also not ratified the Optional Protocol on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (only about 12 have so far) which I consider gave economic, social and cultural rights equal status with civil and political rights - unfortunately because both sets of rights are made compatible with IMF elitist policies human rights are now elitist. In accordance with its beliefs it has a closer association with more like-minded States e.g. recently indicating a closer relationship with the UE is desired. By the way re climate change you mentioned above - the ethical approach emphasizes 'bottom-up' development e.g. small economic and social entrepreneurs, rather than the Corporations. Don't you think it is strange that globalization as per IMF seems to go unquestioned re climate change - as I understand it global warming has been on the increase since the Industrial Revolution. I mean how serious can climate change be when they could always emphasis 'bottom-up' development based on the individual as required in the UN Declaration on Development. Surely small business would be less of threat than the Corporations re environment/climate change. Any way, in my view, the priority should be to address core minimum human rights (includes many children) which need to be addressed within an immediate time frame whereas climate change is to be addressed progressively, over time, meeting certain targets. But also we are far more sure that many do not have their core minimum rights than we are of climate change although I am inclined to think we may well be making matters worse i.e. IMF globalization and its prioritization of the Corporations (also see ethical development and ethical globalization as described in my articles for a different approach).
anthony ravlich, Also, re US standing virtually alone on what it believes in - is no mean feat - just watch the increase in hate that will be leveled at the US - already on the increase it seems.
anthony ravlich, Also, Mason (see below) youth are being subjected to mass global discrimination e.g. the lost generation, as are small economic and social entrepreneurs. Yet I see your new ideas as being desperately needed but our leaders are afraid of independent thinkers. I've had little time for the leaders NZ has had since the onset of neoliberalism - when mediocrity set in now camouflaged by inflated image - although I thought one Prime Minister said something quite wise - that 'its not all over until the f.. lady sings'. I agree with that.
Mason Daykin, Philosopher, Activist, Artist, Writer, Businessman, London, Ontario, Canada, states:
It Needs To Be With ForGiveNess And Love
The FBI Were The First In Afghanistan - Getting Awesome Information
Until The CIA Stepping In - Started Torturing People - Turned Into A Never Ending War
FBI Left Immediately Due To Ethics
Lets All Learn A Lesson From This Anger.
anthony ravlich, Mason, I agree it does need to be with forgiveness and love - also I try not to judge (it could have been me) - ethical human rights are for all. I try to be positive and fight peacefully for a better world although the truth must be told. I see it as my duty.
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