Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The United Nations’ Socialist Land Redistribution Scheme

Joseph A. Klein Monday, October 25, 2010

Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, is the author of a report presented on October 20, 2010 to the United Nations General Assembly, which perfectly illustrates the socialist ideology that is all too prevalent amongst United Nations bureaucrats and its so-called ‘experts.’

The report constitutes little more than an assault on free market capitalism. It is an encomium for government-led wealth redistribution.

In his report, Mr. De Schutter blames the free market system for threatening the livelihoods of “peasants, fishers, pastoralists, and indigenous peoples.” He emphasizes “the importance of land redistribution for the realization of the right to food.”

A “right to work,” right to communal property, adequate housing

Beyond “the realization of the right to food” itself - which was supposed to define the limit of his area of responsibility - Mr. De Schutter contends that there should also be recognition of universal human rights to “adequate housing,” a “right to work (for landless peasants),” and last, but not least, a human right to land. The right to land, he claims, includes “the right to communal property — a right of the community rather than of the individual” as “an alternative to individual property rights.”

Mr. De Schutter contends that speculation on farmland, the expansion of agrofuels production, and demographic growth in rural areas are all contributing to what he calls “global enclosures” concentrated in the hands of the few. He even blames land ownership concentration on the effect of measures intended to combat global warming that other UN experts and bureaucrats have been championing.

“Measures adopted with a view to climate change mitigation or environmental conservation, which have placed priority on technological and market-based solutions over the deconcentration of land in order to encourage more sustainable land uses,” Mr. De Schutter writes in his report, “have created further conflicts with the rights of land users.”

He demands urgent action to reverse “inequitable” distribution of land. “Land does not go to those who need it most,” Mr. De Schutter told reporters at a briefing at UN headquarters in which he discussed his report.
According to this UN ‘expert,’ capitalist notions of private property and the titling process tend to reinforce the unequal distribution of land, unfairly favoring those who have access to capital and whose ability to purchase land is greatest.

“Rather than focusing on strengthening the rights of landowners, States should encourage communal ownership systems, strengthen customary land tenure systems and reinforce tenancy laws to improve the protection of land-users,” says Mr. De Schutter.

But “communal ownership systems” - or what used to be called collective farms in the old Communist Soviet Union - may not be enough, according to Mr. De Schutter. He believes that radical programs to achieve equitable redistribution of land may be necessary where the concentration of land ownership is considered by government authorities to be so high as to cause widespread hunger. “Systematic change in land rights” is essentially his definition of ‘agrarian reform.’

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food advises that “[T]he best way to ensure the right to land and the right to food is precisely to democratize and to secure access to land for the benefit of smallholders. The conclusion is clear: access to land must be recognized as a critical human rights issue.”

If those desiring to use someone else’s land happen to take the law in their own hands and occupy land which they do not own, Mr. De Schutter is fine with that. “The non-violent occupation of land by landless movements should not be criminalized,” he writes in his report.

In response to my question at his press briefing, Mr. De Schutter shared a couple of his suggestions with reporters about how governments can best redistribute land. One of his suggestions was to tax large landowners at such a high rate that they will be incentivized to sell their land to small farmers at below market rates. Another suggestion of his was for the government to simply expropriate land from large landholders if the government does not believe that the land is being used productively.

The bottom line for Mr. De Schutter is that “State-led agrarian reforms” (i.e., government-enforced land redistribution) are preferable to “market-led agrarian reforms.”

And, says this UN czar, where UN member states fail to establish land redistribution schemes, “they should provide justifications for not having done so.”

To whom should these justifications be submitted for review? Mr. De Schutter wasn’t very specific, except to suggest some sort of global governance structure:

“International human rights bodies should consolidate the right to land and take land issues fully into account when ensuring respect for the right to adequate food. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights could play a leading standard-setting role in clarifying the issue of land as a human right by issuing a general comment in that regard. Acting in their monitoring capacity, human rights bodies should examine the justifications offered by Governments that fail to put in place land redistribution programmes or policies with similar aims, despite the existence of a high degree of concentration of land ownership, combined with a significant level of rural poverty attributable to landlessness or inequitable land distribution.”

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is one of those unaccountable UN bodies of “independent experts” that monitors the implementation of a UN treaty by its state parties. In this case, the treaty is known as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the United States ratified back in 1977 during Jimmy Carter’s thankfully short presidency.

The “Covenant” itself is simply an expression of goals and aspirations of the member states toward which they pledged to work. It provides for “international assistance and cooperation” toward the improvement of basic conditions in the member states, while leaving it up to each member state to devise its own legislative measures as it deemed appropriate. The Covenant contains no compulsory enforcement provisions. Nor does it provide a basis for interference in the political or judicial mechanisms of each member state.

Enter the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which took it upon itself the right to issue its own interpretation of the provisions of the Covenant. The committee took the general aspirational language of the Covenant and filled in the gaps with its own specific “elements” such as which groups had standing as aggrieved parties, the “entitlements” ensuing from each right, and the “justiciable” aspects of each right.

For example, the committee expounded on the Covenant’s “recognition” of a “core right” to adequate housing as including much more than basic habitability. The committee in its infinite wisdom concluded that “(A)dequate housing must be in a location which allows access to employment options, health-care services, schools, child-care centres and other social facilities.” Moreover, the committee warned, “thebuilding materials used and the policies supporting these must appropriately enable the expression of cultural identity and diversity of housing.”

The committee went far beyond anything found in the actual Covenant itself by claiming that the “right to housing should be ensured to all persons irrespective of income or access to economic resources” and instructed the state parties to “establish housing subsidies for those unable to obtain affordable housing.”

One wonders how many of the members of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have actually built a house or a business or have risked their own capital to develop land for productive use. Yet it is this unaccountable body, trumpeting their own interpretations of treaty provisions as if those interpretations were to have any binding effect on the member states, to which the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food would turn for enforcing his notion of a ‘human right’ to someone else’s land.

Socialism and global governance go very much hand in hand at the United Nations.

Joseph A. Klein is the author of a new book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The U.N. at 65

For sixty-five years, the U.N. has publically abused the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people

By Henry Lamb Saturday, October 23, 2010

To listen click here

October 24 is the 65th birthday of the United Nations; a great age for retirement. This institution has consistently failed to achieve the objectives for which it told the world it was created, and has just as consistently drained the coffers of developed nations under the guise of eliminating poverty and maintaining the peace.

What a joke.

Global poverty is just as rampant today as it was in 1945 – probably worse. U.N. Peacekeepers are routinely caught exploiting the very people they are supposed toprotect. Corruption flourishes at the U.N. from the oil-for-food programto the ongoing procurement scandals throughout the entire institution. What’s worse is that this joke continues, from administration to administration because there is no oversight or accountability.

Despite these blatant failures, the United Nations has been remarkably successful in achieving the purpose for which it has consistently told the world it was not created: that is, to govern the world.
The League of Nations was a product of the Woodrow Wilson administration which made no apology for its desire to create a world government based on Marxist principles. Fortunately for the world, the U.S. Senate rejected Wilson’s dream – three times – and the League withered, but did not die.

Many of the same people who created the League of Nations created, and gathered in, the Council on Foreign Relations in America, and in the Royal Institute for International Affairs in Europe. When Franklin Roosevelt reclaimed the federal government for the Democrats in 1932, his administration was filled with Wilson cronies and other progressives who longed for the global government Wilson failed to create.

Two weeks after Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt appointed a 14-member Committee on the Post War World. Ten of the members were members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Two weeks later, Roosevelt issued a “Declaration of United Nations,” the first time the term was used officially by any government.

Global government remained a distant dream of the progressives and Marxists on both sides of the Atlantic until the 1970s. The new environmental movement absorbed the young war activists who were left with nothing to protest after Vietnam. Maurice Strong created the U.N. Environment Program in 1973, and pushed through several environmental treaties. The U.N.’s Man and the Biosphere Program was created during this period, which was not a treaty, but a simple agreement between the U.S. State Department and UNESCO, to manage 47 U.N. Biosphere Reserves in the United States according to the recommendations of UNESCO.

In 1976, the U.N. adopted its first policy position on land use. The preamble says “public control of land use is indispensible.” Two of the people who signed the document for the United States were members of the Council on Foreign Relations: Carla A. Hills, who became George Bush’s Trade Negotiator responsible for the WTO, and William K. Reilly, who became Bush’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Progressives in both parties have promoted the United Nations and worked to advance global governance. The Clinton administration was especially supportive of the U.N. global governance agenda. The 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro produced the Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Agenda 21. All of these U.N. documents were embraced by the Clinton/Gore administration and implemented administratively, as much as possible.

Obama and his team bring an even stronger admiration for the United Nations, and determination to subject the United States to global governance. He went to Copenhagen to personally try to seal a deal for the Kyoto Protocol. He wants the Senate to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on the Law of the Sea. He is participating in the G20’s efforts to create a mechanism for controlling the global flow of currency, and has said nothing in opposition to the development of a global currency.

For sixty-five years, the U.N. has publically abused the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, while almost without public notice, building its own power through a global web of international laws, regulations, and recommendations. The U.N. paints itself as a noble institution, redistributing the wealth of the West to the needy elsewhere – while raking off an administrative fee and scamming whatever else they can.

Congratulations U.N., on reaching 65; now retire - and good riddance!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

MY VIEW -A Vote For A Liberal Democrat Is A Vote For United Nations Control Of America

By Jerry McConnell Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Please! Fellow citizens, do not give the corrupt, power-mad liberals more time in Congress—their goal is to destroy our Constitution, and our Country and be ruled by United Nations tyrants.

And this message is also for the other members of the Democratic Party that do not necessarily believe in the unorthodox methods and beliefs of their three radical leaders, Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Many are good Americans, like my father, who believed inAmerica first and Party second. If his choice was to vote with his Party for a program that would saddle our country with huge debt and taxes on our citizens just to say that they could do it, he would vote against it. Those kind of Democrats are rare today.

Last Sunday (10/17) John Lillipopwrote a brilliant summation of the evils that the current Administration and its accomplice liberal Democrats in Congress have been and are still planning to inflict on our country. I was so impressed with the urgency and truth of what he detailed in his column here onCanada Free Press on Sunday, October 17, 2010, that I was moved to write this column of total agreement and further warnings to good, honest Americans who still love freedom and want to keep our country the same.

As this is being written, Obama and his State Department hatchet-woman, Hillary Clinton, are in the process of giving the United Nations total unilateral control over all of the weapons in the hands of all Americans. They are trying to do this WITHOUT even giving the citizens of America a chance to refuse such a treacherous and traitorous action. How dare they accommodate people who would scuttle us in a gnat’s whisker of time? This dictatorial conduct must not be allowed to go unpunished.

We MUST NOT ALLOW this double-crossing disloyalty to our country’s honest and true-blooded citizens to occur, because once they remove our only avenues of protection, we are helpless and will fall under the control of those who hate us just for being what we are; the greatest country ever.

For all those of you who doubt this or are in agreement with the traitorous liberal Democrats, many of whom are being duped unconsciously, please do an Internetsearch with the words, “Obama Clinton UN Gun Control.” You will be amazed at the sneakiness and outright unfaithful conduct both our usurper president and his willing accomplice Secretary of State would inflict on our unsuspecting country.

John Lillipop listed several items of disloyalty and certainly, impeachable offenses against the citizens of our country for which he is to be commended. Time is running out for corrections that can be made to put a halt to these unprincipled actions that would sink our country to the levels of the worst third world rogue nations.

Fellow citizens, we have less than two weeks before the elections on November 02, 2010; but in that short period, much harm and damage to our country can be administered by those power-mad liberals who have headed our country down the slippery slope to socialism-communism. We have to be extremely watchful of the actions of these American traitors who are citizens of doubt eager to sink our wonderful ship of state.

Led by the fortunes and finances of the nefarious Bildeberg Group consisting of multi-billionaires who are bored with the status quo that Americans love so much, there have obviously been promises made by such “should-be felons” as George Soros, the Rockefellers, Buffet and that ilk, to our liberal Democrats of the glorious “One World” universe controlled by them and other tin-pot despots of third world fame. These dupes, so easily lured and converted to be anti-Americans, follow along hook, line and sinker to the termination of the most successful country ever in existence in our world.

Please, Mr. and Mrs. Loyal America, take a stand with Mr. Lillipop and me and call out these traitors by voting AGAINST them even if you feel disloyal; because that feeling of disloyalty is justified by stopping the destruction of all that our county stands for; goodness, honesty and the principles of our founding fathers who took that same stand AGAINST the tyrannical forces of their day to put forth this great nation.

Stand with Americans who love their country; not those who would sink it for personal gain. Benedict Arnold was in that latter category and you know what real Americans think of him in history.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Finally, after 16 years at large, Rwanda massacre suspect Callixte Mbarushimana will face an indictment. He overstayed his protected hospitality in France when he founded a group with a farcical name of Forces Democratiques pour la Liberations du Rwanda at a time when French President Nicolas Sarkozy is trying to turn a new page in Africa, and particularly with Kigali. The International Court of Justice announced that Callixte was arrested on 10 October in Paris by the French authorities following a sealed ICC arrest warrant.

It has been 16 years since Callixte Mbarushimana was accused by his former U.N. colleagues in Rwanda of assisting in the massacres. Yet his case remained pending. After being arrested on an Interpol request, he remained "under investigation" in France. The level of assistance he received from certain U.N. quarters -- particularly in moving to other Peacekeeping missions like Timor Leste and Kosovo indicated that some highly-placed officials at U.N. Headquarters (at the time, or perhaps still around for a few more months) lent their protective influence. The question was not only who but why? Not only what were his connections, but what does he KNOW?

While raised the question regularly since 2002, it was only in November 2004 that mainstream media caught up with an item reported by two years previously about a massacre suspect in Rwanda:

But it was too late, too vague. A television network that expressed initial interest ended up reproducing the spinned version -- mainly shaming "the U.N." in general, while evading the real hard question. An added outrage was related to a "compensation" of about $35,000 to Callixte and dropping the case against him. That led many to accuse U.N. bodies concerned of "mismanaging evidence" and "betraying the genocide victims" by ruling in the suspect's favor without a serious trial. As anyone within the system knows, any personnel case could be argued forcibly well in any internal Board. The quality of those representing the claimant or the personnel office; procedures overlooked or applied; available or unavailable information -- so many elements could play into the hands of any administrative argument. In fact, some staff lawyers may have felt that a case was won for an improperly fired staff!

The real question is not why he was paid -- which is extremely frustrating to many -- but WHO HELPED HIM AFTER THE MASSACRES GET SUPERVISORY JOBS IN ANGOLA AND KOSOVO?

It is by now public knowledge that sixteen years ago, during 1994 Rwanda massacres in Kigali, Callixte Mbarushimana was widely reputed to have actively participated in mass killing of Tutsi. As the U.N. international staff were withdrawn, he took control of the U.N. compound. As reported by several sources -- and later by the Sunday Times of London -- he was allegedly seen collaborating with Hutu death squads. Among his alleged victims was the UNDP Administrative officer in Kigali Ms. Florence Ngirumpatse who was hacked to death with school girls she was sheltering. Others suspected him of fingering out U.N. Senegalese Captain Mbaye who courageously tried to save women and children by smuggling them out in his jeep. A Muslim, Captain Mbaye secretly worked with Christian Church priests and nuns to hide people until he found a way of sneaking them out of harm's way.

"Despite widespread accusations, no action was taken by U.N. peacekeeping, UNDP, or any other U.N. body to investigate. He remained on the U.N. payroll in Rwanda for about seven years. When the Sunday Times picked up his story at the time, it was told that he was no more on the U.N. payroll. That was not true. In fact Callixte Mbarushimana was in effect promoted (!!) to assignments in Angola, then Kosovo. It is not common for local U.N. staff to move from their country of recruitment to another mission. In exceptional cases and based on outstanding performance -- or passing a General Service to Professional exam -- a local staffer could be moved elsewhere or granted an international posting. But given the man's notorious reputation, he must have received serious help from someone influential enough at Headquarters in New York. He could not have applied or been recruited locally in another country; nor would he have any special local qualifications -- Angolans speak Portuguese, Kosovars speak Albanian or Serbo Croat. The Rwandan at best is Francophone.

It is interesting to note in report AT/DEC/1192 dated 30 September 2004, Callixte worked with UNDP-Luanda as "a Local Area Network Manager" (!) from December 1996 to December 1999 -- three years, and that was two years AFTER the massacres. On 10 November 2000, he was recruited for the U.N. Interim Administration (UNMIK) in Kosovo as an "Electronic Data Processing (EDP) Architect" in Gilan region at the IFLD3 -- a level on a limited contract, like most mission appointments -- through 30 April 2001. His contract was not extended -- he had been arrested on an international warrant on 11 April.

It it also interesting to note that in 1999, in an undated "Statement of Concern," Gregory Alex, Human Policy Advisor, Rwanda, formerly Chief, Emergency Unit UNDP Rwanda, made "very serious accusations" referring to Callixte's role in the genocide and in the elimination and murder of U.N. staff members and their families. He particularly referred to the death of Ms. Florence Ngirumpatse. Emboldened, while now serving UNDP in Angola, Callixte wrote directly to the Administrator of UNDP in a letter dated 26 November 1999, strongly refuting the charges. He followed it -- with a letter straight to the Secretary General (former Peacekeeping Chief during Rwanda massacres) on 22 February 2000. By November of that year, he was found that other job ENTAILING DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY in Kosovo. But then, with the case gradually uncovered, the Representative of Rwanda in New York delivered a warrant for his arrest to the Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs who on 10 April informed UNMIK's Legal Advisor, waiving the staff member's immunity from legal process and from arrest or detention. Then the man obtained the backing of Lis Sejr, Judge of the District Court of Gjilan, where he was stationed. On 12 April, she ruled that the provisional detention should be for "the shortest possible period," she found "no evidence of the alleged crime." Then on 6 June she ruled -- refusing the extradition. Five days later a panel -- in the same district of Gjilan -- sustained the local judge and on 19 June the Supreme Court of Kosovo refused the extradition request, ordering the man's release. That is some power for a Rwandan who had just arrived in a totally unfamiliar land only months earlier. It is amazing that he could muster such local judicial support so swiftly at a level to which most Kosovars could hardly aspire. Did he receive highly placed, informed and timely help? From whom? Kosovo is totally under a U.N. mandate, ruled by expediently designated foreign politicians. Six U.N. Representatives were changed during as many years. What role did the U.N. Representative office in Pristina play in such an obviously contentious case? With whom in New York was he in touch, or vice-versa? Besides proper appropriate contact between legal colleagues, who else from Headquarters was involved?

Appointments in the field are fairly well supervised and closely handled. Interested staff and retiring or transferred diplomats know whom to contact. Officers directly in charge have acquired wide influence by accommodating highly placed requests; some of them were gratefully rewarded by promotions and occasional higher level mission assignments. Who among them was involved in this particular case? On whose request?

The mystery is further compounded by what the head of the international inquiry, Tony Greig of New Zealand says. After collecting at least 24 statements from survivors, he helped draft an indictment based on his submitted evidence. But for some reason the Chief U.N. Prosecutor delayed signing it. Mbarushimana had been detained as the Rwanda war Tribunal was requested to investigate. But with no official signature by the Chief Prosecutor, the evidenced indictment would not stand for too long, particularly that the accused man disappeared then reappeared, claiming political asylum in France. He was then enabled to raise a case with the Joint Appeals Board and the Administration Tribunal on the grounds of wrongful dismissal.

The irony is that he was "rewarded" on the tenth anniversary of the infamous Rwanda massacres while the family of the only U.N. hero in this whole shameful episode, the murdered Senegalese Captain Mbaye, is yet to receive an adequate reward.

While awaiting the Court's proceedings, a main U.N.-related question remains unanswered and unexplored. Who helped him after 1994? Who found him even better jobs in the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission, offering him immunity, even supervisory jobs and promotions?

We have raised these questions since the beginning. (Search on our home page for at least nine references.)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Kevin Rudd called UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "Spanky Banky", Barrie Cassidy says in new book

  • From:The Australian
  • October 18, 2010 1:28AM
  • FOREIGN Minister Kevin Rudd and his office privately referred to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as "Spanky Banky", according to a new book.

    ABC TV's Barrie Cassidy writes in his new book Party Thieves, published today by Melbourne University Press that Mr Rudd also demanded the man he replaced as Labor leader, Kim Beazley, who is now a US ambassador, organise meetings for him after he was dumped as leader.

    These included talks with US Secretary of State Hilllary Clinton and the UN secretary general.

    "It was this second meeting - clearly designed to illicit (sic) a job that had some journalists more than mildly amused, namely those privy to a private encounter in Japan two years earlier,"Cassidy writes.

    After chatting to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a corridor, which Mr Rudd refers to as "the summit holding pen", the Chinese President Hu Jintao approaches.

    Caught without his interpreter, Mr Rudd a fluent Mandarin speaker steps in to translate.

    Recounting the tale that night, the then Prime Minister was "stoked" according to Cassidy and tells "gobsmacked" journalists that the UN secretary was so impressed he approached him to discuss food security.

    "In the office, we call him Spanky Banky!,"Mr Rudd then said.

    "Spanky Banky? That would be the secretary general of the United Nations, the first person that Rudd formally approached about a job when he lost the one he had," writes Cassidy.

    "It was yet another of those juvenile and totally inappropriate remarks that so often left those around him wondering what he’d done with all that diplomatic training."

    In Party Thieves, Cassidy also reveals:

    * Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Karl Bitar and Kevin Rudd and Mark Arbib all but agreed on an early election at a roundtable discussion shortly after the collapse of Copenhagen talks but the then Prime Minister changed his mind without telling his colleagues, instead returning from holidays to release a children's book Jasper and Abbey and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle.

    * Malcolm Turnbull turned on Joe Hockey when the author asked him if the treasury spokesman would run for the leadership on December 1, telling Cassidy as he left the ABC studios, "How would you know. He's so weak."

    * Gary Gray, the former ALP national secretary and now Special Minister of State thought Mr Rudd "weak"for using Peter Garrett as the fall guy for the insulation debacle describing the former PM and his office as "disgraceful, weak, sneaky, unprincipled and just plain wrong."

    Comment is being sought from Mr Rudd in relation to Cassidy's claims he referred to the UN secretary general as Spanky Banky.

    Party Thieves published by MUP was released today.

    UN Women and UN Reform

    by Ed Elmendorf

    Secretary-General Ban swears in Michelle Bachelet as under secretary-general of UN Women in September 2010. Mark Garten/UN Photo

    The establishment in July of the United Nations entity on women, known as UN Women, and the appointment in September of former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet as its executive director provide an occasion to reflect and identify lessons on UN strengthening, reform and effectiveness. UN Women will be the world body’s lead advocate and operations agency for gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the world. It will work with governments, build partnerships with civil society and mobilize political and financial support for advancing international goals for women. UN Women will support the UN Commission on the Status of Women, whose meetings UNA-USA members have frequently attended. UN Women will be financed by the UN’s regular budget and by voluntary contributions. The member governments of the UN have agreed that annual spending of at least $500 million is the minimum amount required for the new entity. Nongovernmental organizations have called for an annual budget of $1 billion.

    The scope of the challenges facing UN Women is illustrated dramatically by the inability of UN peacekeepers in the last several years to stop persistent rape in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Abuses of women there by UN peacekeepers themselves have even occurred, after the UN proclaimed a policy of zero tolerance. UN Women needs to devote major attention to these issues while also increasing the effectiveness of the work of Margot Wallstrom, the UN’s first Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, from Sweden. Institutional integrity demands action.

    By all accounts Michelle Bachelet, 59, is an outstanding choice to serve as executive director for the first four-year period of UN Women’s operations. A surgeon with experience in a variety of Chilean environments, she suffered personally under the dictatorship of the Pinochet regime and lived for a period in exile. [See “Bachelet on Women: We All Share Common Goals,” by Barbara Crossette in UNA’s InterDependent,] More recently, Bachelet served as minister of health and then minister of defense before being elected president of Chile in 2006. In 2008, Time magazine ranked her among the 100 most influential people in the world.

    After nearly five years of negotiations and resolutions on reform of UN activities relating to gender, the General Assembly voted unanimously this summer to create UN Women. The agency merges four UN bodies – the Division for the Advancement of Women, its International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Development Fund for Women.

    In UN Women, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has built on his predecessor’s initiative to apply the principle of One UN – one leader, one budget and one office. A coalition of more than 360 civil-society groups, called the Global Campaign for Gender Equity Reform, was active in the dialogue leading to UN Women. The UN Secretariat promised a fair and transparent process for recruiting the executive director, a course that was carefully monitored but also kept private to some extent. Civil-society groups were promised a role. Yet, while the result was praised, nongovernmental organizations have expressed dissatisfaction with the recruitment procedure. Distinguished and outspoken leaders in that community, particularly the organization AIDS-Free World, characterized the process as “fundamentally corrupt.”

    As president of UNA-USA, I find that the experience of UN Women suggests these lessons:

    • The UN is capable of making important reforms to strengthen the organization and increase the value of its work. This in itself is a vital response to those who lament the UN’s bureaucracy and its failures to prevent, for one, the abuse by peacekeepers in Congo.
    • The UN is able to identify and recruit candidates of the highest caliber for its most senior appointments. Just imagine what the UN would look like, and how much more proactive it could be, if the secretary-general’s senior management team consisted entirely of individuals of Bachelet’s standing.
    • Reform advocates should look for other areas where the principles of One UN can be carried out. It is time to start considering whether lessons can begin to be drawn for wider application from the field experiences piloting One UN at the country level.
    • UN reform processes are messy, cumbersome and lengthy, with only limited opportunities for direct engagement by civil-society organizations even when the goal is to fully engage effective interested parties. The UN Women experience reminds us that the UN is a body of 192 countries, where constant vigilance is required to ensure not only adequate involvement by civil society but also productive outcomes.
    • The UN appointment processes for the most senior positions may be well structured on paper, but ensuring respect for transparency, serious consideration of shortlists of well-screened candidates and open decision-making remains difficult at best. While the process that produced Bachelet was strongly criticized, it was more open than at least some other recent appointments, like the selection of a distinguished American, Anthony Lake, to lead Unicef. Those of us who are committed to a robust UN must stay alert as senior vacancies emerge.
    • While improvements are always possible, and processes and results must be monitored, modesty is required of those who introduce major reforms in the UN’s senior personnel processes, as an outstanding process does not guarantee an outstanding result, and a less than satisfactory process may produce an outstanding result, as evident in UN Women.

    Reform the UN

    The Huffington Post

    Ken Blackwell

    Posted: October 17, 2010 05:12 PM

    Reform the UN--In Geneva

    President Obama famously responded to a question about "American Exceptionalism." Asked by a reporter if he believed in it, Mr. Obama replied: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." It was as if he'd just gotten back from Lake Wobegon, where all the chidren are above average.

    So if America's exceptional and so are the Greeks and the Brits--and presumably, too, are the Bangladeshis and the Paraguayans and everyone else--what remains of our exceptionalism?

    Well, if that's the President's position, let's apply it to one area greatly in need of such a formula: Reform of the United Nations.

    The UN was originally supposed to be a world body, a forum for the prevention of war and the maintenance of a just and durable peace. That was FDR's great vision. But it never achieved that lofty goal. It never has come close.

    The UN has managed to overlook the captivity of hundreds of millions of people in the Soviet bloc for nearly half a century. The UN never heard of the Gulag Archipelago. The UN turned a blind eye on Mao Zedong's half century of murderous rule in China. Tens of millions of forced abortions take place in China today--with the active assistance of the UN Fund for Population Activity (UNFPA).

    Cuba--a member of the UN's notorious Human Rights Council--is under the grip of a senescent Communist dictatorship. Orlando Zapata--the true Cuban champion of human rights--died in a Castro prison recently, following a hunger strike in which he demanded nothing more than what the UN proclaimed in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights more than 60 years ago.

    Still, the United States pays more than 22 percent ($1,800,000,000) of the UN's annual budget. That's because FDR considered the United States exceptional, the leader of the free world.

    Since President Obama thinks everyone is exceptional, let's cut the U.S. share of the UN budget back to 6 percent. After all, we are constantly told by the Obama administration that U.S. claims to preeminence are arrogant and offensive to others in Europe and the developing world.

    So let's be more modest. Liberals constantly tell us how much we consume and suggest that because we are only 6 percent of the world population, we are somehow hogging more than our fair share. (They never note that we produce a huge portion of the world's GDP).

    If we are only 6 percent of the world's really exceptional folks, let's knock our contribution to the UN down to that figure.

    What? The UN as currently structured could not survive on that amount? Precisely.
    But a UN headquarters moved from New York to Geneva, Switzerland could be trimmed back to its core functions as a world forum. The UNFPA should be the first body to be scuttled. Followed by the Inter-Governmental Climate Panel (IPCC), which has become nothing more than Al Gore's sandbox. The IPCC recently had to backtrack on its environmental doomsday predictions. Those glaciers in the Himalayas are not going to melt by 2035, after all. They're slated to melt by 2305. Just a typo, the IPCC gnomes claimed.

    The UN Human Rights Council should be deep-sixed. It's more than an outrage to have Cuba, Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia sitting on a body so named--it's hypocrisy on stilts.

    By moving the UN headquarters to Geneva, the traditional city of diplomacy, we can avoid the gross humiliation of having the world's leading terrorist--Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--come to our greatest city to spew his hatred from the platform of the UN. He represents an Iranian regime that murdered 241 U.S. Marines and Navy Corpsmen in Beirut in 1983 and that threatened 52 American hostages with death for 444 days in our Tehran embassy. He is killing American servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Even as he spoke to the UN General Assembly, he was holding two American hikers prisoner. And yet we have to pay New York's police for providing security for his wretched life!

    If all the UN can be is a forum for the airing of international disputes, then Geneva is the obvious location. President Obama could embrace this move as a cost-cutter and a first step in his effort to show the world a kinder and gentler U.S. profile.