Instead, the UN has now empowered Elver to jet around the globe, traveling under the UN flag, reporting back to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in New York, spreading her agenda on anything she might deem relevant to ” food.” Her position as rapporteur is unpaid, but her expenses are picked up by the UN (which means almost one-quarter of her tab will be bankrolled by U.S. taxpayers).
Oh — and did I mention that however bad these things look, it’s almost always worse? Well, Canada protested Elver’s candidacy for this post. And just after Elver’s appointment, the U.S. Mission in Geneva released a “media note” expressing its concern, noting Elver’s “lack of relevant experience” and record of “biased and inflammatory views regarding the United States and the State of Israel.” But when Elver’s candidacy came before the 47-member Human Rights Council, did a single member call for a vote? As we learn from Anne Bayefsky’s Human Rights Voices — not one. Her appointment passed by consensus. That means the U.S. delegate sat there and nodded along.
Canada is excused from responsibility for that consensus because it is not currently a member of the Council. But the U.S. administration has some explaining to do. The U.S. does hold one of the 47 seats on the Council — having joined in 2009, and renewed its three-year seat in 2012, based on the Obama administration’s argument that by working within the Council, the U.S. would have a better chance of actually reforming it. It is probably too much to expect that the U.S. could have swayed such fellow Human Rights Council members as Cuba, China, Gabon, Russia and Saudi Arabia to vote against Elver’s appointment. But what about the U.S. itself, and the other democracies on the Council?
Did the Obama administration make any serious attempt to lead on this issue — whether from behind or in front? Did the U.S. even try to muster at least a show of protest votes from such democratic fellow Council members as Germany, France, Ireland, Japan, Italy, India, the Czech Republic and the UK? Or is consensus approval the best the U.S. can do these days when it comes to UN decisions which, according to the State Department itself, ensconce a rapporteur with a record of “biased and inflammatory views” on the U.S. and its democratic allies?