No Food for you! Says the US to the UN! (WTF)

December 21st, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Hey there, latest UN resolutions proposed, lets see how the votes came out!

By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)

By the terms of the text, the Assembly would express concern that, in many countries, girls were twice as likely as boys to die from malnutrition and childhood diseases and that twice as many women as men were estimated to suffer from malnutrition.  Accordingly, it would have the Assembly encourage all States to take action to address gender inequality and discrimination against women, including through measures to ensure that women had equal access to resources, including income, land and water, so as to enable them to feed themselves and their families.  By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would urge Member States to promote and protect the rights of indigenous people, who have expressed in different forums their deep concerns over the obstacles and challenges faced in the full enjoyment of the right to food.

After the vote, the representative of the United States said he was unable to support the text because he believed the attainment of the right to adequate food was a goal that should be realized progressively.  In his view, the draft contained inaccurate textual descriptions of underlying rights.

The Committee also approved a draft resolution on the rights of the child by a vote of 180 in favour to one against ( United States), with no abstentions.  Among other things, that omnibus text would call upon States to create an environment conducive to the well-being of all children, including by strengthening international cooperation in regard to the eradication of poverty, the right to education, the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, and the right to food.

So, taken at face value with this information it looks like the United States is being cruel, vicious and uncaring; as though choosing self before choosing the rights of children and people to eat, be educated and have enjoyment and health.    The did speak out in more detail stating:

Speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of the United States said that, while agreeing with the sentiment expressed in the resolution, his delegation could not support the text as drafted.  The United States felt that the attainment of the “right to adequate food” or the “right to be free from hunger” was a goal that should be realized progressively.  The current resolution contained numerous objectionable provisions, including inaccurate textual descriptions of underlying rights.  The United States was the largest food donor in the world of international humanitarian food aid and it would continue to work towards providing food security to all.  In the future, he expressed hope that the co-sponsors would work to address his delegation’s concerns, so the United States could join other countries in adopting the draft.

Wow, it looks like they really do want to help, but there are some vital ‘legal’ and perhaps questionable character flaws of the way the text was presented.  Certainly the text can be misconstrued and result in people having less luck in achieving the results this resolution looked to resolve.

Which leaves me to question why is it that all resolutions are stored under lock and key and no one ever gets to see them until it becomes time to pass them, so that stipulations and textual misinterpretation cannot be mishandled.  Oh wait, I forgot, that doesn’t happen.

So you’re telling me, if you disagree with a portion of the bill you outright deny it, instead of working towards getting it corrected in the first place?  I’m sure having a terrible PR effort show up on your record is far better than standing up for what you believe in when it matters, instead of ‘at the time of vote and make us look like fools’.

By the looks of the document others also disagreed with portions of it, but they didn’t say “I won’t tell you what I disagree with, I’ll simply deny the resolution on the whole!” because by the looks of it, 180-1 makes you look like the fool.

While speaking on the rights of Children they said:

Speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of the United States welcomed the commitment of the United Nations and the Third Committee on issues relating to the rights of the child.  The United States was equally committed to the issue and had worked to ensure that the protection of the rights of children was fully integrated into its foreign policy.  However, she also expressed disappointment over the failure to make a number of minor changes that would have allowed the United States to support the draft.  In particular, she referred to preambular paragraph 2, which stated that the Convention on the Rights of the Child “must constitute” the standard, and in operative paragraph 2, which might have been improved by urging States to “consider” becoming States parties to the Convention, as each State had a sovereign right to make such decisions on their own.  Finally, operative paragraph 31, which recognized the contribution of the International Criminal Court in ending impunity for the most serious crimes against children, was not necessarily supported by fact, as it had not yet tried a single case in that regard.

So again here, 180 to 1, and another piece of legalese since they mandated it “must constitute” instead of leaving it open to interpretation “must consider” meaning countries which already violate children and human rights would sit back and say “Hey, sweatshops? nah we considered it and said we don’t think so”.   Seriously US.   When everyone else is doing it (Sure don’t follow the tread, but don’t sit back and disagree over a mandate of good instead of an interpretation of evil which it seems like you wanted to be allowed.

I live here in the United States, and seriously? I mean, Seriously?!  Next thing you know, they’ll be voting against another good mandate over the definition of the word “is” or something.

I won’t even go into all of the other things the United States voted against because I don’t have that much SPACE out here! Read it if you wanted to be informed!

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Christopher Kusek, General, Informational, Politics, WTF | Comments (2)

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