October 8, 2009

MAYBE HE THINKS IT'S THE ANKHOSPHERE WE'RE PART OF? (via Fred Smith):

You Can't Say That: At the UN, the Obama administration backs limits on free speech. (Anne Bayefsky, 10/05/2009, Weekly Standard)

For more than a decade, a UN resolution on the freedom of expression was shepherded through the Council, and the now defunct Commission on Human Rights which it replaced, by Canada. Over the years, Canada tried mightily to garner consensus on certain minimum standards, but the "reformed" Council changed the distribution of seats on the UN's lead human rights body. In 2008, against the backdrop of the publication of images of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper, Cuba and various Islamic countries destroyed the consensus and rammed through an amendment which introduced a limit on any speech they claimed was an "abuse . . . [that] constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination."

The Obama administration decided that a revamped freedom of expression resolution, extracted from Canadian hands, would be an ideal emblem for its new engagement policy. So it cosponsored a resolution on the subject with none other than Egypt--a country characterized by an absence of freedom of expression.

Privately, other Western governments were taken aback and watched the weeks of negotiations with dismay as it became clear that American negotiators wanted consensus at all costs.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 8, 2009 1:35 PM
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