Jeane J Kirkpatrick

Has the U.N. Commission on Human Rights Lost Its Course? - June 6, 2001

Jeane J Kirkpatrick
June 06, 2001— Washington, D.C.
Hearing before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on Int
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Thank you very much, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen. It is a privilege and honor to be here to testify before this Committee and on this subject. The Committee is distinguished and the subject is vitally important. I will try to summarize and be brief.

I begin by noting what has already been made clear. This is the year that the repressive dictatorships of the world have made the most progress ever in their effort to effectively destroy the United Nations Human Rights Commission, which, when it functions as it was intended, is one of the truly useful bodies of the United Nations in assisting the victims of repression and tyranny.

As almost everyone knows, the United States was a founding member of the Human Rights Commission, and also played a critical role, in the person of Eleanor Roosevelt, in the establishment of the Human Rights Commission. So it is ironic that we were not reelected to participate in the Commission.

Virtually all the dictatorships in the world will be participating in the Human Rights Commission next year, while doing all the sort of things that dictatorships do—repressing others, jailing them, denying free speech, expression of assembly, trying to bar them from taking part in Commission activities. These victims are working hard for greater personal security and rule of law, because they have suffered the consequences of its denial.

Charges have been brought against Freedom House, of which I have been a member, whose annual Survey of Freedom in the World is greatly resented by the repressive regimes in the world. They do not like Freedom House's Survey of Freedom in the World.

I am happy to say also that our government has a lot of respect for Freedom House's Survey of Freedom in the World and regularly takes careful account of it in making a variety of decisions.

I remember that we worked quite hard for quite a long time to secure the accreditation for Freedom House, so it would be eligible to participate in the Human Rights Commission; and now it is threatened with disaccreditation.

You know the charges are the regular ones. It has been charged regularly with being too concerned about victims of human rights abuses by powerful nations. China is leading the campaign against Freedom House, and it leads the campaign against Tibet under some different circumstances.

It is interesting to me that there is this year an accrediting committee of the 19 like-minded who will consider the charges against these NGOs, including Freedom House and Christian Solidarity International, which I understand is directed by Dr. Franklin Graham who is also threatened with disaccreditation. China is asserting about them that they must neither abuse their consultative stakes nor act against the principles and purposes of the U.N. charter.

I assure you, for 5 years I virtually carried a copy of the U.N. charter in my purse, and I could quote most chapters and verses on most any subject. And I assure you that Freedom House is not violating, nor are any of the other NGOs which are threatened today with the disaccreditation, any chapters of the U.N. charter. It is quite the contrary.

I wish the Chinese delegate would carry a copy of the U.N. charter in his pocket and read it on a regular basis. He might have a better appreciation of what it provides.

For several years, we have all known that the U.N.'s most repressive regimes have sought to hamper the Human Rights Commission by joining it. That is a very interesting tactic, and a number of us could see it coming as the repressive regimes started working to get themselves elected to the Human Rights Commission.

In that Commission, of course, they can intimidate and follow the work of and block action by other country members who are interested in serious work on human rights in the Human Rights Commission. That is really the issue, whether there will continue to be serious work on human rights in the Human Rights Commission.

Congressman Tom Lantos, when he was here, referred to what was happening as ''Orwellian in its character.'' It is Orwellian that these most repressive regimes should all have worked to find themselves good cynosures on the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

When I first heard about the United States being defeated for a seat next year, I unfortunately jumped to the conclusion that it was perhaps because we had not had a full-time, top-level U.S. Ambassador heading our team for 4 or 5 months, and I do think that was unfortunate.

However, as I thought more about it, I realized that I probably wouldn't have ultimately made much difference if we had a full staff working at full steam because we have been losing politically in WEOG.

It is a certain kind of new EU politics that is causing us to lose. This event is similar to when we failed to be elected to the Committee on the Status of Women, which we barely remember today, but it seemed very important when Madeline Albright was our first Secretary of State and we were preparing for the meetings in Beijing. There, too, they filled all three seats, because they have so many more votes than we do.

Understand, there is this other issue that no one ever mentions except me in a public place. Maybe it shouldn't be mentioned in a public place, but the EU not only blocked votes, but they have 15 votes now to our 1, and those 15 votes cannot only be voted, but they can be promised and traded. And they can be used to win more votes. That is a very serious handicap from which we suffer and from which I fear we are likely to continue to suffer unless some kind of action could be taken. It's reminiscent of when Harry Truman told Joseph Stalin that it was not going to be acceptable to us that the Soviet Union had 16 votes while we had 1, and that was quite debated in the days that the U.N. was established. It might be worth looking back at that debate. There was a compromise, and that is how the Ukraine and Belarus received recognition as full states and with positions on the Security Council when it was their turn. They were not in any sense ''full states;'' they were simply satellites of the Soviet Union. And that gave the Soviet Union a kind of advantage, but it was a 3-vote advantage not a 15-vote advantage.

The other explanations offered have also been mentioned here. We talked more about human rights than other countries and we are more likely to bring complaints and to push them. We are more likely to be sympathetic to countries and peoples with terrible human rights problems, such as Tibet. It is a people with a terrible human rights problem in China.

Or Israel, the United States is the only country in the United Nations that reliably supports Israel against unfair and unreasonable charges.

What happened this year is very interesting, I think. There were five resolutions passed this year concerning Israel by the Muslim Islamic group mainly, 28 states voted for condemnation of Israel. None of those resolutions of condemnation merited much respect, and some were just outrageous. While 28 states voted for the condemnation, the U.S. and Israel (and, on several votes, Guatemala) voted no. The EU and Russia abstained.

The practice of abstaining on tough issues is very important, and it is one of the factors that most clearly distinguishes the United States' behavior on human rights issues from most of the EU behavior on human rights issues. I am not sure what we can do about this.

In my prepared text, I quoted George Kennan, who said in a famous warning of 1954 which I think is relevant to our predicament, ''I view with skepticism our chances for exerting any usual influence unless we learn how to create respect for our possible disfavor, at least as great as the respect of our possible favor.''

He then went on to quote Thomas Jefferson in his consideration of the utility and sometimes the necessity of peaceable coercions, the use of peaceable coercions in the practice of diplomacy. I don't know if peaceable coercions would be useful to us at this stage.

I feel quite certain, however, that it will not be easy for the United States to reclaim a position on the Human Rights Commission. I should say that the reason we had always had positions on the Human Rights Commission was not because we were getting along better with other nations then; it was because of something called the Permanent Members Convention.

Under the Permanent Members Convention, it was provided that the five permanent members could claim a seat on any committee or commission of the United Nations that they chose to. That has been respected in the U.N. from its founding until virtually now. It occasionally, in the post-Cold War years, has been ignored. Notice that Russia was elected, for example, and had no problem being reelected to the Human Rights Commission.

We also have an understanding with our friends in the EU that in the WEOG the United States, because we represented another continent or because we were a superpower, could count on being one of three WEOG votes, as it were, in normal elections.

Both of these conventions were nonoperative this year, and that created problems we have not had before. I will just stop there. I think it is going to be very hard work for this Committee to think this through and try to reach some useful and, perhaps, even conceivably helpful policy on it.

[The prepared statement of Ms. Kirkpatrick follows:]


Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me to testify on this vitally important issue.

Mr. Chairman, This is the year that the world's most repressive dictatorships have made real progress in their effort to destroy the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which, when it functions as intended, is one of the truly useful bodies of the United Nations in assisting the victims of repression and tyranny.

As almost everyone now knows, the United States, which had been a founding member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from its founding in 1947, was not re-elected to the Commission and so will not be eligible to participate in its activities for the coming year.

But virtually all the dictatorships in the world will be participating in the Human Rights Commission next year doing the sort of things that dictatorships do—repressing others, jailing them, denying them free speech, press and assembly and trying to bar from taking part in Commission activities those NGOs which are most active in promoting free speech, press and assembly, personal security and rule of law. Charges have been brought against Freedom House, whose annual survey of freedom in the world is greatly resented by China among other tyrannies who with support of Cuba and Sudan brought the charges against Freedom House and the Christian Solidarity International, a U.S. Protestant group.

An accrediting committee of 19 ''like-minded'' will consider the charges against Freedom House. They will seek to revise the rules on accreditation to the Commission making it impossible for victims of repression to speak to the Human Rights Commission and to circulate ''politically motivated material'' describing their treatment.

In the Human Rights Commission today, accredited NGOs can invite persons of their choosing, including victims of human rights' abuse, to speak at the forums, a right granted by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). China would like to put an end to these procedures.

China has insisted their ''national sovereignty'' be respected. ''They must neither abuse their consultative stakes, nor act against the principles and purposes of the U.N. Charter.''

China has also tried to have the United Nations and the canton of Geneva ban demonstrations by the Falun Gong outside the U.N. Headquarters. They have made three written charges:

  1. They have complained that Freedom House violated the rules concerning Chinese interpretation.

  2. They asserted that Freedom House included a terrorist group (which is not true).

  3. And Russia criticized Freedom House for interference in Chechnya.

For several years the U.N.'s repressive regimes have sought to hamper the Human Rights Commission by joining it and each year more repressive regimes achieved membership, but the solidarity of democracies has prevented the dictatorship from gaining control. But the margins have grown smaller and the straight speaking more timid. Often it has been the United States which has taken the lead in gathering the material and the votes to make the case against tyranny and repression inside the Human Rights Commission.

That is doubtless the reason that a major effort was made this year to eliminate the U.S. presence from the Human Rights Commission. The effort was successful, as everyone now knows. It was successful because several of the Western democracies, with whom the United States has worked to make the United Nations useful in defense of the values for it was founded, dropped out of the struggle.

As in all U.N. Commissions, states are nominated through their participation in a geographical group. The United States participates in the WEOG group ( Western Europe and other Governments). Moreover, through the history of the United Nations, the United States and any other permanent member has served on any committee it chose to be on, under the ''permanent members convention''. France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and the United States have always been assigned in this way until Spring 2001.

What happened?

I initially hazarded the guess that the absence of a chief U.S. Ambassador for four to six months had left the U.S. government less well informed, less active and more vulnerable to ambush than we otherwise might have been. That may well have been a factor, but reflecting further on the issue, I conclude that what happened could have happened even if we had had a full complement of representatives in the U.S. Mission and the Department of State.

I also looked at a previous occasion when the United States was denied re-election—to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (May, 1994).

Its seats were allocated among regional groups and then subjected to election in ECOSOC. There, too, the U.S. was apparently defeated by its friends, principally because its friends in the European Union filled all three seats.

This year most American analysts start from the fact that three EU nations took all three seats—France, Sweden and Austria—on the Human Rights Commission and the International Narcotics Control Board—France, Austria and the Netherlands—as evidence there was a snub of Washington by the European Union. On the Human Rights Commission, France had 52 votes out of a possible 54, Austria 41, and Sweden with 32. The United States trailed with 29.

I believe the United States lost its seat by the unraveling of a longstanding understanding with Europe that provided that the United States would hold one of the three seats reserved for Western nations and that happened because of the consolidation of the EU.

Other explanations offered for the U.S. defeat in human rights explained it as a consequence of the U.S. habit of mounting a vigorous case against human rights abuses, as when in the session just past American delegates targeted both China and Cuba, both of whom then vigorously lobbied against the United States.

Congressman Henry Hyde, (R. Illinois), the new chair of the International Relations Committee in the House of Representatives, described the U.S. defeat as ''a deliberate attempt to punish the U.S. for its insistence that the commission will tell the truth about human rights abuses wherever they occur.''

Hyde was probably right. The U.S. habit of telling the truth in the United Nations about human rights violations of some governments against their citizens is almost surely the reason some countries opposed the U.S. re-election to the Committee.

Israel is also an issue. The United States is the only country in the United Nations that regularly defends Israel against unfair attacks. This year only the U.S. and Israel voted nearly alone (with some help from Guatemala) against five resolutions condemning Israel's ''disproportionate'' use of force in the ''Palestinian territories'' and calling for a halt on building new Jewish settlements and denouncing Israel for various crimes. The EU, Russia and few others abstained against this calumny. The result was a vote of 28 states for condemnation, 2 Israel and the U.S. and sometimes Guatemala against, and 22 abstentions.

There is another factor. In recent years, more and more governments, who are themselves infamous human rights violators, have managed to get themselves elected to the human rights commission (thereby acquiring a vote and influencing outcomes): Libya, Syria, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. Vietnam, China and Cuba are also members. They would like to prevent membership of any country which actually wants to talk about human rights abuses.

But the United States lost in the WEOG group.

The Ambassador of France attributed the success of his country in the Human Rights Commission to the French practice of founding its foreign policy on ''dialogue and respect.'' But it is also based it on the French habit of not criticizing any country no matter how heinous their abuse. China agrees with France that the French way is better. China suggests that the United States should ''stop using human rights issues as a tool to pursue its power politics and hegemonism.'' Of course, the United States can do that when China stops using its power to violate its citizens' human rights.

The U.S. government has no friends among these countries who regularly deny their citizens freedom and due process. But some of our European friends do and they treat them well. It is called ''real politik'' and it works.

There is not much question that the distance between the United States and its Western European allies has grown in the last decade. The European press shows their displeasure with the United States in a steady stream of articles highly critical of the ''American way.'' The criticism has intensified since the inauguration of the Bush administration which undertook to move America rightward at a time when all but two of the 15 member states of the EU have socialist governments.

The United States will never be able to achieve its goals or even to work for them effectively toward its goals in the U.N. commissions, if, in addition to opposing our adversaries, we must also compete with our friends. Our one vote can never win against the EU's fifteen.

Opposing the United States at the United Nations is easy because it is risk-free. There have been few consequences for opposing and attacking the United States inside the United Nations. The United States has a habit of acting as though everything matters to us, but nothing matters much.

George Kennan's famous warning of 1954 is clearly relevant to our predicament, but nobody has heeded it. In 1954, he wrote, and I quote ''I view with skepticism our chances for exerting any useful influence unless we learn how to create respect for our possible disfavor, at least as great as the respect for our possible favor.''

Kennan knew the behavior of nations is not normally motivated by disinterested gratitude or friendship, but rather by the hope of gains and the fear of loss. Kennan knew that it was important for a nation seeking influence to remember what Thomas Jefferson had called ''the peaceable coercions'' of international politics.

What could we do?

Several members of the Congress have offered suggestions about ''peaceable coercions'' the U.S. might utilize. The Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert, offered a suggestion when he said the U.N. action might force lawmakers to reconsider a carefully wrought agreement worked out between the Senate and the Clinton administration to pay outstanding American dues to the United Nations. He noted that the House was expected to take up the issue for the first time next week as part of the State Department authorization bill.

The complex politics of the United Nations requires cultivating and maintaining relations with a hundred different countries in the United Nations, inside the United Nations, and outside the United Nations. But these relations need to be reciprocal. They need to be based on mutual respect and not on our respecting others while others fail to respect us. That reciprocity has to be continuously renewed. It doesn't require that the United States dominate, or impose its view, or carry the day on every issue in the United Nations, or even most issues in the United Nations. In fact, in order to be effective, we have to recognize the interests of other nations, we may sometimes need to give priority to their concerns where issues are more directly relevant to their vital national security.

Our effectiveness in the United Nations, or, I believe, the world, does not require that we impose our world view on everyone else. It does require that we secure a decent respect for ourselves and our most important principles and interests.

Mr. Chairman, thank you.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you, Dr. Kirkpatrick.

How can the U.S. use our position in the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council to build those coalitions that you have talked about, and relations with members of the Commission, that would assist our efforts in that body; and how can we use our position within the Organization of American States and the Community of Democracies to assist our efforts at the U.N. Commission?

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Thank you, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen.

I believe that that is very difficult, too. Typically, we are less effective in the General Assembly than we are in commissions and committees, and certainly than in the Security Council. The General Assembly operates more completely and regularly on the basis of bloc voting and bloc positions and with less consideration than other bodies of the U.N.

So I am not hopeful about what we will be able to do in the GA. I hope we can do something. I am always hopeful, but I am not very optimistic.

I think the OAS is a more useful potential body for the United States and perhaps one in which we can work with more hope of success and effectiveness. The OAS operates under some very different rules, has a different membership, and is not already committed to blocs. Issues like the nonbloc, for example, is a relic of the Cold War which is preserved because its members find it useful for some purposes for some time. It is certainly not useful to us.

But I think that the big blocs, of which the nonaligned group is an example, are political institutions which contribute to sort of reflexive and thoughtless voting in the U.N. and debating a lot in the U.N.

What was the last question? You had another.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. About the OAS.

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. I think the OAS is likely to become more useful to us. I think it has been useful. For example, in American efforts in Haiti. I have looked at that record rather closely. And I believe the OAS is an institution to which we should perhaps give more attention and in which we should work harder.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you.

I am going to—before I recognize Ms. McKinney for her question, I will ask Congressman Smith to chair the rest of the Subcommittee session. Unfortunately, I have a speaking engagement off the Hill, and I will try to be back, but I am not so sure.

Thank you, Mr. Smith.

Ms. McKinney.

Thank you to all panelists for being here today. Thank you.

Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you.

Dr. Kirkpatrick, your written testimony, the last line just literally sent shivers down my spine, the last sentence is, ''Our one vote can never win against the EU's 15.''

What that suggested to me was a whole new orientation in our foreign policy and a whole new orientation as to how we view the Western Alliance. Since you started it, could you just sort of explain the next part of that that remains unstated?

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. I have been a strong supporter of NATO, the bodies of the Western Alliance all of my adult life. I most recently was a strong and active supporter for the expansion of NATO in part in order to keep it relevant and alive. And I hope very much that NATO remains a vital alliance and a vital element of the U.S. orientation in the world.

I, too, have carefully read the Treaty of Nice. I even examined some of my students on it at Georgetown University before the end of the year. I think there are going to be problems. The Treaty of Nice was presented initially by President Chirac of France. It is difficult to believe all the language that it presents. I believe it doesn't mean what it says, because it reads as if they are viewing us continually in a kind of competitive and not in a wholly friendly fashion.

I think you generally ought to take people's word for what they mean. Mr. Chirac is a smart man, and I suppose he means what he says. Now he has said he didn't mean what he said.

So, when people read it like I do, they are not reading it right? I find it difficult to read it any other way, but maybe I am wrong, and maybe there won't be the kind of developing problem between the U.S. and our EU participants and colleagues and allies.

I think that the inclusion in NATO of some of the Eastern Europeans, the new democracies from Central Europe and Eastern Europe, may help to change this somewhat the—since there is almost a competition between the Western European members on NATO, above all between France and Germany. And the U.S. that prevails today I think may be more helpful—and maybe not.

I believe that our closest colleagues and our closest allies and best friends, as well as top trading partners in the world, are the Western Europeans. I hope very much that we can keep it that way.

Ms. MCKINNEY. But the Administration has just conducted a review, or is in the process of conducting a review that encourages us militarily to look to the east. And so at a time when we are refocusing our orientation to the east, we may have an abutting problem to our west, and so I think we have always championed a United States of Europe. We have championed European integration.

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Absolutely.

Ms. MCKINNEY. So now at the same time I hear, or I think I hear a fear at the same time, of what U.S. integration really portends for the United States.

I would just like to say before you respond ECHELON, the European Union sent some parliamentarians here and they were interested in ECHELON, the satellite spy network that spies on all of yours and my e-mails, faxes, telephone calls. Any kind of communication that you have with some of your friends that you think is private, it is not private. These parliamentarians were totally dissed by the Bush Administration.

They had their appointments canceled at the last minute, and they got here and they could only—they could only meet with Members of Congress who were interested in meeting with them; and of course, because I value my little privacy that is left on the Internet, I met with them. But the allegation is that the United States was using ECHELON for commercial purposes and that they turned that information against Airbus and gave it to—it was a Saudi bid—and gave it to Boeing, I believe.

So for an allegation as serious as that, that we would turn our back on our allies when it came to making a buck, then how can we expect them not to view us in this way?

I haven't read the treaty, but I will go and read it.

In this kind of competitive way, you know, you sort of get what you give or what goes around comes around.

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Right. I would love to comment on it.

I would love to comment on that. I don't really know anything about ECHELON. What I know about it I heard from NPR [National Public Radio] and what I have read in the newspaper. And I did, by the way, read in the newspaper that these aren't governments. They were sort of a self-appointed committee of European Parliament, as I understand it, and they did not really have appointments. They weren't really——

Ms. MCKINNEY. That is not what they say. I met with them. They say they had an appointment, and the appointment was withdrawn.

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. I take it they were not operating from a high-enough level.

Ms. MCKINNEY. Answer this question. I know you do not want to be in the unenviable position of having to bash the Bush Administration.

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. I am not going to do that, Congresswoman.

Ms. MCKINNEY. I know you are not going to that. Let's just say that wouldn't it have been to the Administration's benefit to meet with these people who are charged with producing a report that now is going to be critical of the United States which is going to deepen those feelings that we say we want to change?

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Let me just say this. Since I didn't meet with them, and I don't know them, and I don't know their mandate I will say simply that it is very common that one government does not give easy access to another government of high-security activities, France being a perfect example.

France has one of the highest security operations in the world. And there is no Committee of the Congress that can go visit France and ask for access to their most secret factories and high-tech activities of all kinds.

I went to see the Ronald Reagan christened, let me say. It is the largest aircraft carrier in the world. I sat next to a French director and president of one of the major French high-tech companies, Dassault. And he informed me there that they made all the software for the Ronald Reagan. Now that is interesting, isn't it? And then he told me that they made all the software for a number of the highest tech U.S. transport and weaponry.

So there are obviously Frenchmen who have plenty of access to all the high tech that Americans have access to and I suspect that partly what went on in them not getting the access that they hoped for was that they hadn't really gotten through the right channels.

Of course, the ECHELON, as I heard it from NPR, is not just an American activity anyway. It is British and French.

Our European allies have never practiced nor advocated any kind of sharing of technology and weaponry and transport. They really never have. That is one of the reasons I was so shocked when I learned that the French had made all the software for the Ronald Reagan.

Mr. SMITH. [presiding.] Thank you very much.

The Chair recognizes Chairman Gilman.

Just for the record, we have been advised that the Committee Room—our lease on this room expires at 5:30. Another Committee is coming in. So I will submit some questions to the Ambassador, if I could.

Mr. Gilman.

Mr. GILMAN. Thank you very much; and welcome, Ambassador Kirkpatrick. Thank you for taking the time to be here. I know that your time is important as well, and you requested the chairman to give you leave, and we are pleased at your review. We thank you for your good work during your tenure in the U.N. as our Ambassador. You have certainly gained great experience in how we should be reacting in the U.N.

This has been an abominable situation when this cabal of dictators, dictator nations and violators of human rights took us off the Human Rights Commission, one that we helped to create initially. Let me ask you a question I asked earlier of some of the prior panelists. Is it possible to establish some criteria for membership that would render ineligible countries whose governments are persistent human rights violators? And if so——

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Congressman Gilman, I think we might demand they achieve a certain score on the Freedom House Index of Freedom. I can't think of a criteria that would be satisfactory to us that would be acceptable to a committee of the United Nations.

Mr. SMITH. Would you yield?

As you probably know, Henry Hyde's State Department authorization bill has a section in this that says to a participating state that state needs to allow governmental representatives like a rapporteur or nongovernmental people working on human rights to have access to that country. That is an absolute, bare minimum type of threshold, but it seems to me that if they don't allow of groups that were represented here or the Red Cross to go to prisons you shouldn't sit on the Human Rights Commission.

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. That is right, and the Red Cross might be an example. It might be conceivably an acceptable and therefore useful first move. I didn't know that was included within the bill, but I am pleased to know it is.

Mr. GILMAN. One more inquiry, Madam Ambassador. What specific recommendations did you offer to the new Administration to begin addressing the problems of allowing resolutions to be passed by consensus, understanding that violators to human rights are not named in open debate?

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. Right. I think that is very serious. My advice to the new Administration is that the United States should only participate or seek to participate in a Human Rights Commission which is meaningful, in which the actual abuses of actual human rights victims are aired. And that among other things is incompatible, of course, with the kind of resolution that you have just proposed which practices is further debilitating the work of the Human Rights Commission.

I don't think we should accept such a seat on a Human Rights Commission that was meaningless. I don't think we should seek a seat either.

Sometimes in the U.N. Orwellian things happen. It happened in UNESCO, organization that was signed to be one of the principal global defenders of free press and the information exchange, yet became the bastion to prevent free press and information exchange. We don't want to be part of it.

Mr. GILMAN. Thank you.

The title of this hearing is, ''Has the U.N. Commission on Human Rights Lost Its Course.'' It appears it has been going downhill. How did we get to where we are, and what should we do to turn it around?

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. That is the job that all of us will be thinking about and working on for the foreseeable future.

Mr. GILMAN. We welcome any recommendations. Thank you.

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. I will be in touch. Thank you.

Mr. SMITH. Ambassador, Mr. Gilman, Ileana has just worked it out so that the Western Hemisphere Committee has found another room, so we physically do not have to be out of here by 5:30.

I have one brief question. It is very important if you would reflect on it, or maybe you already have an answer.

As I mentioned earlier to our distinguished panel, since the EU has so radically changed and it is a superstate now and, as you point out, with some 15 votes, whatever the number is, is it time to be thinking about a different blocking? Perhaps Canada, Mexico, the U.S., or some other? Why are we so—that doesn't diminish our support or our trading capabilities and friendship with the Europeans, but they have changed, and they have shown profoundly unfriendly attitudes when it has come to some of these votes that we should not just look askance to. Should we have a new regional bloc ourselves?

Ms. KIRKPATRICK. I don't think that is easy, for one thing; and I am not sure we can do it. For a second and third, I am not sure we would want to when we thought it through. It is a very big question. We have to think very hard, I think. It bears thinking about.

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