In late August, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued the Obama administration’s first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to the U.N. high commissioner for human rights. The purpose of the UPR is to give the United Nations “a partial snapshot of the current human rights situation in the United States, including some of the areas where problems persist in our society.”
Secretary Clinton’s report explains that, to Americans, human rights are dear because “they were the reason our nation was created.” She insists that rights enshrined in the Constitution are universal in application. It does not matter whether a people has no historical experience with private property, voting, or freedom of expression. These “universal rights” should be applied to all peoples in every corner of the globe.
Although Secretary Clinton’s history lesson and examination of rights are interesting, the real attention grabbers are the American infractions chronicled in the report. Citing FDR’s 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech, she notes that Americans are not free from want and that current unemployment rates have human-rights implications that must be disclosed to the United Nations. The report observes that unemployment rates for Hispanics and blacks are several points higher than the rates for whites. Consequently, the United States must continue “to address such disparities by working to ensure that equal opportunity is not only guaranteed in law but experienced in fact by all Americans.” Equal economic outcomes, according to the secretary, are human rights.
The UPR perceives human-rights issues in the recent housing-market collapse. Ignoring that the federal government pressured banks to lend money to individuals who simply were not creditworthy, Secretary Clinton complains that the “foreclosure crisis has disproportionately affected communities of color.” Thus, Washington must focus “resources and efforts” to ferret out this new round of discrimination. It is certainly hard to have much sympathy for banks these days, but this damned-if-you-don’t-lend and damned-when-you-do policy lacks even a modicum of fairness. One wonders what Washington would have said had the banks not tried to cut losses by foreclosing on collateral.
The report laments that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons are denied the right to “marry” in most U.S. jurisdictions. While “several states have reformed laws to provide for same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships,” more work must be done. Secretary Clinton assures the United Nations that a goal of the Obama administration is “repeal of the [federal] Defense of Marriage Act” as well as the “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ statute, which prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.” The President has already appointed “several LGBT individuals to senior positions in the Executive Branch.”
Assimilation and welcoming of immigrants is central to “our ability to innovate, our ties to the world, and our economic prosperity.” Unfortunately, the report continues, one U.S. state departed from this goal by passing a law requiring local police to verify the immigration status of a person involved in a lawful stop, detention, or arrest. Yes, Secretary Clinton felt duty-bound to report Arizona to the United Nations for human-rights violations.
Never does the report mention that Arizona’s S.B. 1070 gives the authorities no new power. Nor does it recognize that the police must be involved in a legitimate law-enforcement activity such as a traffic stop or arresting a lawbreaker (say, a person dealing meth or crack) before they inquire regarding immigration status. And before inquiring they must have “reasonable suspicion” that the subject is here illegally.
Instead of accurately explaining the Arizona law, Secretary Clinton simply assures the United Nations that this human-rights violation “is being addressed in a court action” and that “parts of the law are currently enjoined.”
The UPR is 29 pages of liberal gibberish and could easily be laughed off but for two matters. First, the people in charge really believe that equal outcomes, “gay marriage,” and open immigration are “human rights.” And they aim to use the full power of the federal government to guarantee these “rights.”
Second, our leaders are quite comfortable reporting alleged infractions to the United Nations. To report means to present oneself to a person in authority in accordance with that person’s requirements. For example, a private reports to his sergeant and a servant reports to his master to give an account of their acts and omissions.
Nothing in the UPR indicates that the Obama administration has any misgivings about double-timing it to the United Nations to tattle on states or to swear fidelity to FDR’s Four Freedoms. National sovereignty is not even a blip on the administration’s screen.
The United States is party to 13 multilateral human-rights-related treaties and has signed but not ratified five more. These treaties provide excellent cover for the Obama administration to push its agenda. Americans should expect to see future expansions of federal power based on our duties to, or the dictates of, the United Nations.
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