The United Nations: The Devil's Jury
In Stephen Vincent Benét's story "The Devil and Daniel Webster," Satan called a jury of the damned composed of turncoats, traitors, and Blackbeard the Pirate, "with the stench of hell still upon them." At the United Nations Human Rights Council, accusations against the Dutch political leader Geert Wilders will be heard by Chinese and Russian lawyers who spent the 1970s and 1980s running the "human rights" entities of their respective countries, an Egyptian-educated diplomat from Morocco, and a "human rights" specialist from Cuba, according to the UNHRC website. The Cuban died last year, but in the spirit of Benét's story, he still might be serving on the UN working group hearing Mr. Wilders's case.
Last week, three Dutch Moroccans filed a complaint against their country's government with the UNHRC, an entity that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in 2007 accused of a "pathological obsession with Israel," echoing similar complaints by the United States, Canada and the European Union. Under the Bush administration the United States boycotted the Council, but President Obama sent American diplomats back to it. On Oct. 1, the State Department released a statement claiming that "U.S. engagement thus far has resulted in significant improvements to the Human Rights Council as a multilateral forum for promoting and protecting human rights. Accomplishments include groundbreaking resolutions on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, preventing discrimination against women, LGBT human rights, (and) religious tolerance."
As leader of the Party for Freedom, Holland's third-largest political party, Wilders has fought to limit Muslim immigration to his country, and demanded a hard line against "street terror" by Muslims in European cities. The former parliamentary assistant to the leading Dutch conservative politician Fritz Bolkestein, Wilders is a traditional liberal and a strong supporter of Israel. In January 2009, Dutch prosecutors accused him of "hate speech" against Islam; he was acquitted of all charges in March 2011. Wilders lives under continuous threat of murder by Islamists; he is guarded at all times and sleeps in a different location every night.
The Dutch-Moroccan complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council claims that the Netherlands violated their human rights by failing to convict Wilders. Their complaint states:
Systematic incitement to hatred and discrimination against Muslims and other migrants has been committed over years – in different forms – by the Member of Parliament Geert Wilders. The complainants – who are Muslims and belong to the Dutch-Moroccan community in the Netherlands – feel discriminated against, humiliated and threatened by Mr. Wilders and the members and adherents of his party, resulting in discrimination and an increasingly negative attitude by considerable parts of the population. They are of the opinion that Mr. Wilders by his continued hate speech has poisoned the social climate in the Netherlands, that has become more and more anti-migrant and anti-Muslim.