Tuesday, December 27, 2005

US opposes many of 2005's treaties

Sure sounds horrible. We must be a nation of self serving bigots and racists... at least that's what the article seems to imply.

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 23 (OneWorld) - Twenty-six years ago, the United Nations adopted a treaty that is often described by human rights experts as the international "Bill of Rights" for women.

Today that treaty has been endorsed by more than 170 nations. However, while the entire industrial world fully supports the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the United States is the only developed nation that continues to oppose it.

Opponents of U.S. ratification fear that it might affect U.S. policies, but most women's rights groups in the United States and abroad reject this notion.

"There is no good reason why the United States is not ratifying CEDAW," says Ritu Sharma, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Women's Edge Coalition, an umbrella group representing 180 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

"It simply lacks the political will" to ratify the treaty, she adds.

And how many of the 170 nations have actually done something to improve woman's rights? There are some women in Afghanistan and Iraq who got to vote recently for the first time thanks to the US and our allies that might disagree with the statement that the US "lakcs the political will". Actions speak louder than treaties you know. Who has signed this treaty? Afghanistan, back in 1980 signed because the Taliban was such a huge fan of women's rights. Cambodia [updated 12/28 new article via Bloomberg] signed back in 1980 a year after Pol Pot was in power. The Khmer Rouge is a big women's rights supporter (if there were any left). Cuba signed in 1980. Castro loves the ladies, but does he love women's rights? Cuba communists say yes. Jordan signed in 1980 because nothing says women's rights like an honor killing. Russia signed back in 1980. I can't remember... were they still communists back then? Rwanda signed back in 1980 because Hutus love Tutsi women. And the US signed back in 1980 (one of 98 countries to sign); we've just never ratified it. How about some of the countries that did ratify it? Haiti, North Korea, Liberia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Wow. What a powerful convention this must be. The women's lib movement is just oozing out of these countries.

Just out of curiosity what else didn't we sign?

[...]Recently, when the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted to a adopt a new treaty that protects cultural rights worldwide, the United States stood alone in its opposition.

The treaty allows nations to maintain, adopt, and implement policies they deem appropriate to protect the diversity of cultural expressions on their territory.

The U.S. rejected the treaty by arguing that it could have a chilling effect on the ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"This convention invites abuse by enemies of democracy and free trade," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told UNESCO members in a letter in October.

Because people's cultures just diappear when they get to the US. Nevermind that we think there are trade implications that this treaty could hamper, we need to protect the culture. Do we need to protect all of the culture? What about cultural relics like the honor killings I mentioned above? It's part of the culture, but it isn't exactly condusive to women's rights. That's a catch-22, that is.

[...]Despite strong persuasion efforts from other nations, the U.S. persisted in its refusal to embrace the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement setting targets for industrialized countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Well, we just talked about 13 of the 15 EU nations who signed up for Kyoto couldn't meet the standards, so we'll let that one slide.

The list of U.N. treaties that Washington opposes goes on and on. U.S. leaders continue to reject the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear weapons,

A large chunk of our foreign policy is dedicated to us keeping our nukes and preventing others who shouldn't have them from getting them. We need to sign a treaty to do this?

the Treaty Banning Antipersonnel Mines,

Do we have large mines fields here in the US? Didn't think so. In fact I'm sure there are more than a few US citizens that would be in favor of the US putting a few mines along our borders. Hypothetically speaking of course...

a protocol to create a compliance regime for the Biological Weapons Convention,

Do we really need a compliance regime to tell us biological weapons are bad?

the Antiballistic Missile Treaty,

See the nuclear test ban treaty hooey above.

the International Criminal Court treaty,

You think the ICC would allow extradition to the backwards US that kills its murderers? That's why the Austrians love Arnold so much...

and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Rights of the child to, say live? I think we'd get in more trouble for signing that than not.

Washington is also not complying with the Chemical Weapons Commission and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and refused to let the U.N. Human Rights Commission conduct a probe into the alleged torture abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo and other detention centers.

Right, torture by allegedly flushing a Koran down the toilet and ruining perfectly good plumbing.

[...]Currently, the U.S. is locked in a diplomatic fight with the rest of the international community over U.N. finances.

Bolton wants the U.N. to make administrative and management changes before the U.S. approves the U.N. biennial budget before the end of this year, a demand that top U.N. leaders and other diplomats have described as unreasonable.

Hey I'm sure all these treaties and committees and meetings aren't cheap. Bolton does strike me as a "less treaties and meetings and summits and more action" type of guy.

[...]Meanwhile, within the United States, rights activists like Sharma from the Women's Edge Coalition wonder why their country stands so alone.

"The U.S. wants to protect women's rights around the world, including in the Middle East. It is supposed to be human rights leader," she says. "But that rings a little hollow if it does not sign a women's rights treaty."

Because we're the cheese... and as any child will tell you the cheese stands alone. I think I'll repeat my statement above for Ms. Sharma here: actions speak louder than treaties.

I think that just might be my new motto.