UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer in testimony before the U.S. Congress on May 17, 2016.
We meet on the 70th anniversary of the UN Commission on Human Rights, whose creators gathered this week, in May 1946, one year after the Nazi atrocities. Eleanor Roosevelt became the founding Chair, and René Cassin, the eminent legal philosopher, the Vice-Chair. The founders had a dream: to reaffirm the principle of human dignity, and to guarantee fundamental freedoms for all.Read the whole powerful testimony here.
Over time, however, dictatorships hijacked the Commission—even electing the murderous regime of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi as Chair; 1946, Eleanor Roosevelt; 2003, Colonel Qaddafi.
Two years later, UN Secretary-General Annan called for scrapping the commission, identifying its politicization, selectivity, and credibility deficit—all of which “cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole.”
By contrast, the UN promised that the new body would elect members committed to human rights, and address the world’s most severe abuses.
Ten years later, we ask: Is the new body living up to the UN’s promise of reform, and to the original dream, from 70 years ago, of Eleanor Roosevelt?