Yesterday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour sharply criticized some of the tactics being employed in the war on terror, reminding all nations — including the United States — that they are constrained by an “absolute ban on torture and the right to a fair trial.” She added, “It is vital that at all times Governments anchor in law their response to terrorism.”
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton immediately slammed Arbour’s “misplaced priorities”:
For all the human rights problems in the world in places like North Korea and Iran and so on, to go after the United States and Israel — it is business as usual from the U.N. human rights machinery.
But just a month earlier, Bolton’s own deputy stated that the “U.N. human rights machinery” exists to inform all member states — including the U.S. — of their international duties and obligations:
The human rights machinery of the United Nations exists to assist UN Member States to meet their international obligations. Reflecting our strong support for human rights, the United States places a great deal of importance on the effective and efficient functioning of human rights bodies. … The United States holds the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in high regard and believes it has the potential to make even greater contributions to the protection of human rights around the world.
Bolton has once again shown he is willing to throw international cooperation by the wayside and employ double standards in order to defend flawed Bush administration policies.