President Criticizes Arizona in Report to UN Human Rights Commission

By Jack Minor

While many in Colorado support adopting an Arizona-style immigration law, the Obama administration has criticized the state in a report sent to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
In the Universal Periodic Review to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Obama administration took Arizona to task for SB 1070 which essentially mirrors federal law. The report states, “A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world. The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law.”
The Human Rights Council was created in 2006, replacing the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which had failed to hold governments accountable for violating basic freedoms and human rights. When establishing the HRC, attempts to ensure the new body would not have the same liabilities as its predecessor did not receive sufficient support in the General Assembly.
According to a report by The Heritage Foundation there are several instances where oppressive regimes have been permitted to claim they provide freedom to their people. North Korea asserted that it “comprehensively provides” for fundamental rights and freedoms including “the right to elect and to be elected, the freedoms of speech, the press, assembly, demonstration and association, the rights to complaints and petitions, work and relaxation, free medical care, education and social security, freedoms to engage in scientific, literary and artistic pursuits, and freedoms of residence and travel.” Cuba also claimed that it provided the right to “freedom of opinion, expression and the press” and peaceful demonstration.
Examples such as this caused the Bush administration to withdraw from the council; however, upon taking office President Obama quickly reversed that policy.
The report also lists several other policy proposals the Obama administration is preparing to implement. Regarding voting rights, the administration desires to take voter registration away from the states and place it under the purview of the federal government mentioning universal voter registration and “permanent voter registration” saying “work continues toward having these proposals enacted into federal law.”
Criticizing what the administration sees as pervasive racism in the country it says, “We are not satisfied with a situation where the unemployment rate for African Americans is 15.8%, for Hispanics 12.4%, and for whites 8.8%, as it was in February 2010. We are not satisfied when fewer than half of African-American and Hispanic families own homes while three quarters of white families do. We are not satisfied that whites are twice as likely as Native Americans to have a college degree.”
The report also praises the President for passage of the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 which is currently the subject of a lawsuit by several pastors claiming the bill prohibits them from preaching against homosexuality. Critics of that bill say it does not define the term sexual orientation and that it will mean all of the 547 “philias” including pedophilia will be protected by law. During debate on the bill, verbiage stating that pedophilia was not a protected sexual orientation was stripped from the final bill.
The UPR also reiterates this administration’s support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would force faith-based organizations to hire homosexuals, the Paycheck Fairness Act and the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women.
Tom Tancredo, American Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate, criticized the report. “Part of Barack Obama’s plan to, as he said during the campaign, ‘thoroughly transform America’ is to diminish our sovereignty. So why should we be surprised by this action? The President makes no distinction between US citizenship and global citizenship.”

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