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FILE: U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto
Brockmann accused the U.S. of committing inhuman
“atrocities” in a fiery speech before the U.N. Human
The Obama Administration joined the Human Rights Council to take up observer status on March 4, 2009, “which the Bush administration had boycotted because it was unable to crack down on despots and human rights abuses.”
That very day, H.E. Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, President of the United Nations General Assembly gave an impassioned speech before the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, wherein he “accused the United States of committing inhuman ‘atrocities’ in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
From the Speech (PDF)
Mr. President, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi,
Sisters and Brothers All,
1. I am very pleased to be able to join you here today as the first General Assembly President to formally address the Human Rights Council since its inception three years ago. This is especially appropriate because the Council, as you all know, was established by the General Assembly following the World Summit of 2005 to give higher visibility and importance to human rights alongside with peace, security and development.
2. At that Summit, world leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of universal human rights that the United Nations has painstakingly created over the past 60 years. These are commitments that we all must monitor closely. For, as we know, most gross violations of human rights are committed by our very own Member States. This vigilance must be particularly strong within the Human Rights Council itself if we are to maintain its current, reinvigorated momentum and strengthen the protection of our most vulnerable citizens.
3. As a new body, the world is watching the Council as it undergoes a paradigm shift from the culture of confrontation and mistrust that pervaded the Commission in its final years. We are confident that the Council is now achieving a new culture inspired by strong leadership and guided by principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation. These principles will enhance the promotion and protection of all human rights.
. . . . .
25. Finally, I urge the Council to focus on the profound problems that have been created by the massive violations human rights in Iraq. Even as the world absorbs the inhumanity of the recent invasion of Gaza, we see Iraq as a contemporary and ongoing example of how the illegal use of force leads inexorably to human suffering and disregard for human rights. It has set a number of precedents that we cannot allow to stand. The illegality of the use of force against Iraq cannot be doubted as its runs contrary to the prohibition of the use of force in article 2(4) of the UN Charter. All pretended justifications not withstanding, the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations, constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations.
26. Reliable and independent experts estimate that over one million Iraqis have lost their lives as a direct result of the illegal invasion of their country. The various UN human rights monitors have prepared report after report documenting the unending litany of violations from crimes of war, rights of children and women, social rights, collective punishment and treatment of prisoners of war and illegal detention of civilians. These must be addressed to bring an end to the scandalous present impunity.
27. What can the Council do? I urge you to put the questions of the situation of human rights in Iraq on your agenda. You might discuss the appointment of a special mechanism to report on the situation of human rights there. You also might consider the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights that are prepared by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). It is ironic that for almost 20 years before the U.S. led invasion and occupation, there was a Special Rapporteur on Iraq. Yet precisely when the largest human catastrophe on earth began to unfold in Iraq in 2003, this post was eliminated. Reliable sources estimate there are over one million civilian deaths in Iraq as a direct result of the U.S. led aggression and occupation, and still there is no Special Rapporteur. This is a serious omission that should be corrected.
. . . . .
29. Our tasks are many and responsibilities enormous. We are convinced that the United Nations has a central role to play in advancing and protecting the rights that have been so painstakingly established over the decades. But it takes credibility and courageous leadership to meet these responsibilities. We must draw on the enormous reserves of
moral strength that exist in each one of us to step forward, challenge the abuses of power, assert clarity and fairness in our responsibility to protect, and move quickly to prevent the unfolding economic catastrophe that is darkening our world from turning into prolonged human tragedy. This requires partnerships and cooperation. For all this, you can count on the General Assembly. And we shall count on you.
And, here are the comments from the report found in FOX News, no less!
“The aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations,” said U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann.
D’Escoto claimed that U.S. actions have directly led to more than a million Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003, a vastly inflated figure that does not correspond with the U.N.’s own estimates.
The U.N.’s health and medical agency, the World Health Organization, says 151,000 Iraqis have died since the 2003 invasion. IraqBodyCount.org puts the death toll between 90,000- 99,245.
D’Escoto’s fiery speech came on the day the Obama administration decided to take up observer status on the Human Rights Council, which the Bush administration had boycotted because it was unable to crack down on despots and human rights abuses.
D’Escoto urged the Council to put the human rights situation in Iraq on its agenda, accusing the U.S. of war crimes and a series of human rights violations. “These must be addressed to bring an end to the scandalous present impunity,” he said.
He also called on the U.S. to free five Cuban nationals being held in U.S. prisons. The group was convicted in a Miami court in 2001 on a range of charges including lying about their identities, trying to obtain U.S. military secrets and spying on Cuban exile groups.
D’Escoto, once the foreign minister for the Communist Sandinista government of Nicaragua, called the five “heroes” being held in “preposterous conditions.”
D’Escoto said he was hopeful that the Obama administration would address his concerns and bring change to American policies concerning the imprisoned Cubans.
“The immediate ex-incarceration of the five Cuban heroes would help strengthen our confidence that the promised change is for real,” he said.
FOX News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report.
I find the speech of the President of the United Nations General Assembly very encouraging in so many ways. At the same time, without expansion, I find it humbling and humiliating!
And here we are discussing a Truth Commission?