Speaking at the Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers Briefing, September 7, 2010, was the Heritage Foundation’s “International Regulatory Affairs” expert Brett Schaefer, discussing the U.N. General Assembly at large, and also previewing President Obama’s upcoming address to the U.N.
Schaefer is the Jay Kingham Fellow at the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. Further, he analyzes a range of foreign policy issues, focusing primarily on the UN.
On September 23, 2010, the address and remarks made by President Obama in his 2nd Address to the General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York will be out for immediate release.
The theme of this year’s conference is the Millennium Development Goals, which are essentially a list of targets laid out by the U.N. in the year 2000, established to assess where country leaders and their nations stand. Further, developed countries are being pressed to meet fiscal goals toward making more progress in the fight against global poverty.
To meet such goals, leaders are being urged to provide resources to meet such standards.
The Heritage expert informed that this fall will be the 65th convening of the United Nation’s General Assembly, which is now more of a perpetual, rather than annual, session as it had convened from September through December in the past. The General Assembly is the chief representative and legislative body of the U.N. and its functions and powers were established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations.
Under its charter the General Assembly can:
- Make suggestions on the generally accepted principles of cooperation aimed toward international peace and security;
- Initiate studies toward promoting international political cooperation;
- Assist in the development of international law, collaboration in the economic, social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and health fields;
- Promote the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and
- Assist in peaceful settlement terms of disputes among friendly nations
Shadows cast on the reputation of some United Nations leaders, and the seemingly repetitious overlooking of the conditions of human rights and freedoms in countries, such as China and Cuba, led to the creation of the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 15, 2006.
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental political body which possesses the responsibility of strengthening the awareness and protection movements of human rights around the world. It is also a response to years of failed attempts of the former Human Rights Commission at addressing human rights issues.
However, what has been seen since 2006 is the body has “failed on a regular basis to confront human rights abusers, focuses obsessively on Israel, and basically provides a cover, a shield, an excuse for countries like China to go through the motions and saying that they are going through the human rights scrutiny, but actually avoiding that scrutiny.”
Due to such cases, the Universal Periodic Review was established. It involves examining the human rights records of all 192 U.N. Member States which occurs once every four years.
Schaefer noted that the current Obama Administration has been “completely absent” on noteworthy issues and current event happenings in the U.N. Reports issued are “basically ignored,” he stated. Such incompetence by an administration that so emphasized pursuing relations with the U.N. is “fairly startling.”
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