Wednesday, July 02, 2008
On this day:

UN Human Rights Council report singles out Alabama over death penalty

Take a look at the member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council and you'll find some of the worst human rights abusers in the world: China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Bolivia, Cameroon. And the list goes on.

It would take a lot of nerve for this group to accuse anyone of abusing human rights, given the very real human rights violations that are condoned and even endorsed by their own nations' leaders, but that's exactly what they've done. And they've pointed their finger at Alabama as a particular cause for concern. According to the Birmingham News:
Alabama's death penalty system is so broken that the state may have executed the innocent, and state officials refuse to recognize the problem, a United Nations report has concluded.

Philip Alston, a special investigator with the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, identified what he said is a series of flaws in Alabama's system, including judges who convert life sentences to death sentences for purely political reasons and inadequate representation for the condemned. Most alarming, he said, was Alabama officials' refusal to even discuss the possibility that the state's capital punishment system is in need of improvement.

"(Alabama) officials seem strikingly indifferent to the risk of executing innocent people and have a range of standard responses, most of which are characterized by a refusal to engage with the facts," Alston wrote in the report, released Monday.

This is absolutely absurd. How many real human rights abuses are purposefully overlooked by the U.N. Human Rights Council each year without so much as a peep? The answer is "most of them." For more background as to just what a farce the U.N. Human Rights Commision is, see this Heritage Foundation report. While the Human Rights Council has been quick to condemn Israel for defending itself against the Palestinian radicals who routinely launch missiles into Israeli cities with the express intent of killing civilians, it says next to nothing when tyrants like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe murder or imprison their political opponents. It pleads ignorance when nations like Saudi Arabia and China persecute Christians. It covers its eyes when Iran hangs teenage boys for the "crime" of homosexuality. Yet, it is quick to condemn Alabama for executing convicted murderers, even though they've been afforded all of the due process protections provided by the U.S. Constitution, not to mention those that the U.S. Supreme Court has seen fit to create.

As Alabama Attorney General Troy King said Tuesday: "The United Nations has grievous injustices in its own building that it ought to address before it begins worrying about a speck in the eye of a state like Alabama."