Just as Iranians were reminded of their stolen June 2009 election and continued oppression, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) decided to kick them while theyâ€™re down. On June 10, with the active involvement and approval of the Obama administration, the Council adopted a decision on human rights in Iran that was a sentence long and contained no condemnation whatsoever.
The context was a review by the Council of Iranâ€™s human rights record, as part of the Councilâ€™s consideration of all 192 UN states. The review featured a vigorous defense by Iranian representatives of Iranâ€™s stellar human rights achievements, followed by Iranâ€™s rejection of a host of â€œrecommendationsâ€ made to improve its actual behavior. The â€œoutcomeâ€ was a sentence identical for dictatorships and democracies alike, in which the Council merely refers to a bundle of documents containing praise, criticisms and responses without drawing any conclusion attributable to the Council itself.
The incomprehensible UN decision reads: "The Human Rights Council...Adoptsâ€¦the report of the Working Group on the Islamic Republic of Iran, together with the views of the Islamic Republic of Iran concerning the recommendations and/or conclusions, as well as its voluntary commitments and its replies presented before the adoption of the outcome by the plenary to questions or issues that were not sufficiently addressed during the interactive dialogue in the Working Group.â€
The reaction from the Obama administration was to declare victory and to manufacture something positive to say about Iran. On June 10, U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe rushed to the UN microphones in Geneva to announce repeatedly: â€œI have to emphasize that we are very pleased that Iran was willing to participate at allâ€¦. In the case of Iran, we applaud the willingness to participate at allâ€¦. Weâ€™re pleased that at least they were willing to show up.â€
Praising Iran despite its total disregard of the fundamentals of human decency is the antithesis of the supposed liberal human rights mantra. Instead of buoying the Human Rights Councilâ€™s performance, the Obama administration is sinking with it.