Louise Arbour's diabolical project
Louise Arbour, former prosecutor of the International Criminal
Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, today United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, arrives in Colombo today.
Contrary to the prudence required by an official of a multilateral
organisation like the United Nations, she has already proclaimed her
intention to press the Government of Sri Lanka to open a field office
under her authority to "protect" the citizens of Sri Lanka, implying
that the Government of Sri Lanka is not capable of protecting its own
Does Louise Arbour consider Sri Lanka to be a "failed State", a
dangerous concept of the Bush Administration?
This postulate was relayed in an international campaign by
representatives of the so-called civil society whose links and political
objectives are those of their donors - Western Governments and NGOs,
both international and Sri Lankan, who receive their funds primarily
from these same Governments.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other NGOs such as
INFORM in Sri Lanka suggest that such an office "could act as a neutral
body" to monitor human rights in the country. They say "national
mechanisms don't work". It is not surprising that under these
conditions, the LTTE itself has promoted and welcomed the visit of
It is important therefore to re-situate this diabolical project
within the context of the profound changes taking place within the
United Nations System at the behest of the United States and its
partners. Restructuring of the UN Centre for Human Rights has
transformed it from a secretariat of the multilateral body - the Human
Rights Council - into a highly politicised Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights, which is increasingly substituting itself
for the Human Rights Council and its organs.
None can deny that there is a need to transform the United Nations
and the international architecture into a system that represents genuine
and greater - not less - multilateralism But that is not the case today
Why? In the eyes of the US Administration and its partners, the survival
of the multilateral system has become an anachronism.
Its aim now is to transform the organisation into a tool that serves
its vision of global supremacy, to gain legitimacy for its preventive
wars and its so-called action against terrorism, as well as to promote
the rules of the market and guarantee private property.
Under the guise of "freedom to live in dignity," the former
Secretary-General of the United Nations insisted "We must move from an
era of legislation to an era of implementation".
Through his notion of "responsibility to protect potential or actual
victims of massive atrocities," he legitimised foreign intervention in
the internal affairs of sovereign States: "if national authorities are
unable or unwilling to protect their citizens, then the responsibility
shifts to the international community to use diplomatic, humanitarian
and other methods to help protect the human rights and well-being of
When such methods appear insufficient, the Security Council may out
of necessity decide to take action under the Charter of the United
Nations, including enforcement action, if so required."
Under the multilateral vision, the human rights special procedures
mechanisms such as Special Rapporteurs were created to exercise a
protection or monitoring function from outside the country with due
respect for State sovereignty.
Today, Louise Arbour's mission is to impose upon countries that seek
to defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity, a human right
field office that would de-legitimise national mechanisms, while at the
same time de-legitimising the multilateral system!
Why does Arbour not advocate opening human rights field offices in
the United States or in the European Union countries, where it is now an
established fact that the CIA has opened secret prisons on the
Attempts by the United States and its allied to instrumentalise the
United Nations in this field is not new Within the United Nations, the
process began with the creation of the highly politicised Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights and re-structuring of the former
Centre for Human Rights.
The Centre functioned as a secretariat to service the human rights
multilateral organ - the Commission on Human Rights and to provide
advisory services and technical assistance to Governments - at their
request - to establish or strengthen national institutions to carry out
An insidious transformation is taking place within that Office
turning it into an instrument of direct intervention in the internal
affairs of sovereign States through a rapidly growing implantation of
field offices essentially staffed by individuals paid by rich donor
countries or private institutions.
Arbour's vision implies new organs, new procedures, new methods of
work, and a new type of staff that has more in common with diplomatic
mercenaries than with international civil servants!
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has effectively
turned into an intelligence-gathering arm in the name of "humanitarian
intervention;" A greater human rights field presence during times of
crisis would provide timely information to United Nations bodies and,
when necessary, draw urgent attention to situations requiring action."
This logic contributes to legitimising and systematising foreign
intervention in all domains, if necessary, by force, "preventively and
with the full range of available instruments."
Such a vision could definitely emasculate the General Assembly of its
An illustration is the obsessive reference to subcontracting of UN
programmes and activities, including research, and to 'strategic
partnerships' with non-State actors of the so-called civil society and
the private sector (transnational corporations) as newfound sole
authorities. This is also true for human resources within the UN System.
New recruits will serve the political interests of the major
financial and military contributors; flexibility and precariousness in
staff contracts will facilitate rapid deployment in the service of the
new interventionist vision.
Heads of field offices have "the discretion, the means, the authority
and the expert assistance that they need to manage an organisation which
is expected to meet fast-changing operational needs in many different
parts of the world."
Managers may take unilateral decisions to establish, in a selective
and arbitrary manner, "strategic partnerships" with non-State actors of
the so-called civil society, NGOs, and the private sector. The political
implications will be apparent in the sensitive field of 'intelligence
gathering' under the guise of protecting the human rights of civilians!
The radical break that Louise Arbour is ardently advocating requires
the elimination of the remaining values, principles, and ethics that are
linked to the multilateral system and which constitute obstacles to the
deployment of the new organisation, as envisioned by the US and its
More than 60 years after the founding of the United Nations, the
United States and its partners want to substitute for the common vision
held by peoples and States emerging from the victory over fascism, a
unilateral and grotesque interpretation of the threats and challenges
faced by the world, and actions that must be taken.
Member States are being pressured to adopt "a new security consensus
that whatever threatens one threatens all," and accept that "threats
which each region of the world perceives as most urgent are in fact
equally so for all."
According to the multilateral concept of the United Nations, threats
to international peace and security are any forcible action by one State
against another, against its national sovereignty, its territorial
integrity or political independence, the right of people to
self-determination and freedom.
It include wars of external aggression, the subjection of peoples to
alien subjugation, domination and exploitation, as well as armed
intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats
against the personality of the State or against its political, economic
and cultural elements.
However, under the vision promoted by Louise Arbour, matters that
fall essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of States will be
considered threats to international peace and security. 'New threats'
will include civil violence, organised crime, terrorism, proliferation,
small arms and light weapons, weapons of mass destruction, poverty,
deadly infectious disease, environmental degradation!
Under the guise of "freeing the world from want," the Western powers
are seeking to legitimise the imposition of conditionalities on poor and
weaker developing countries so as to force upon them the single economic
model thereby accelerating the process of capitalist globalisation with
the accompanying devastation that we are witnessing.
Developing countries are pressured to strengthen so-called
'governance,' combat corruption, reduce the State role in the economy
and society except those that stimulate private investment, increase the
role of the private sector and civil society, provide legal and other
guarantees for their activities, including property rights: conditions
that already form part and parcel of the controversial structural
adjustment programmes of the rich countries and their notorious
international financial institutions.
In return, the rich countries will reward developing countries with
"increased development assistance, a more development-oriented trade
system and wider and deeper debt relief."
Yesterday, peoples, nations and States were united in the promotion
of common values and principles. Today, Louise Arbour's vision is to
unite member States around a manicheistic vision.
Thirty-seven years ago, the Declaration on principles of
international law friendly relations and co-operation among States,
which further defined the Charter of the United Nations, proclaimed that
"States have the duty to co-operate with one another, irrespective of
the differences in their political, economic and social systems, in the
various spheres of international relations, in order to maintain
international peace and security and to promote international economic
stability and progress, the general welfare of nations and international
co-operation free from discrimination based on such differences."
Today, instead of cooperation between sovereign States, unilateral
humanitarian intervention often under cover of the United Nations - in
the name of defence of human rights has become the rule.
From now on, regional arrangements will be replaced by the tenebrous
"international community or relevant regional actors and organisations,"
with the right to intervene wherever and whenever in accordance with a
From now on, local disputes will be replaced by "whatever threatens
one threatens all". From now on, pacific settlement will be replaced by
"other methods or the full range of available instruments" Member States
and the United Nations will be reduced to less than nothing.
If we should allow victory of unilateralism over multilateralism,
NATO intervention against former Yugoslavia, the armed US aggression
against Afghanistan, its aggression and occupation of Iraq will
retroactively gain legitimacy.
So will the establishment by the Security Council of ad hoc tribunals
for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, of which Louise Arbour was the
Prosecutor! All that is illegal will become legal; Lies will become
Will Sri Lanka become another target?
Accepting the opening of a United Nations human rights field office
in Sri Lanka will be accepting a project which is, in essence, a