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How dare the UN take us to task on human rights

Resource type: News

The Irish Independent |

Original Source by D. Quinn When the Catholic Church was still the major power in the land, what incensed many of its critics was its claim to have a monopoly on morality. Today, the shoe is firmly on the other foot and it is the (mainly) anti-religious left that claims the monopoly, except that they don’t call it morality anymore, they call it “human rights”. Just this week, Ireland was before the UN Human Rights Committee. It appears before this unaccountable and unelected body every five years to explain its “progress” in implementing certain rights. The Government was represented by Paul Gallagher, the Attorney General. It was bad enough that Ireland was being judged by a supra-national body like the UN at all, but what made things much worse is that our record was being judged by representatives from countries that are serial human rights abusers, such as Egypt. An entire global industry has been built up around human rights. Ironically, this industry is a sort of secular Catholic Church, with its version of the local bishops’ conferences in the shape of outfits like the Equality Authority, the Human Rights Commission and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and its equivalent of the Vatican in the shape of the UN. It is the job of these secular clergy to try and corral politicians into enshrining international human rights conventions — drafted at the UN, or the EU, or the Council of Europe — into national law and to have them enforced by the courts. They do this as assiduously as the Irish bishops once sought to have Catholic moral teachings enshrined in Irish law. What is happening is fantastically undemocratic and it involves a massive transfer of power from national legislatures to supra-national bodies, local and international courts and local and international human rights quangos and NGOs. This is happening without ordinary people even noticing; or else, when they do notice, they shrug their shoulders, because who could possibly be against “human rights”? Who indeed? But, equally, who could be against morality, until you discover that what is being foisted upon you is Catholic morality, or Victorian morality, or Communist morality, or Nazi morality, or socialist morality or secular humanist morality, or whatever type of morality it is that you happen to be against. Just as there are different and competing views of morality, there are different and competing views of human rights and these are often radically at odds with one another. For example, I might believe in the right to life of the unborn and you might believe in the right to an abortion. The big problem today is that the human rights industry is almost entirely in the grip of the left and a mainly secular and left-wing interpretation is being forced on the concept of human rights, and then on country after country via the aforementioned international conventions, courts, quangos and NGOs. For a classic left-wing interpretation of human rights, look no further than the document the Irish Council for Civil Liberties sent out to that UN Committee which our unfortunate Attorney General had to appear before this week. It favours abortion rights, as distinct from the right of life of the unborn. It favours same-sex marriage and gay adoption, as distinct from the right of a child to a mother and father. With regard to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, it is much more concerned about freedom from religion than freedom of religion. All of the rest of the document might as well have been dreamt up by the old democratic left. In short, the human rights industry is the means by which the left intends foisting its agenda on us without having to go to the bother of persuading voters. “Human rights” has now become a synonym for socialism — or, at best, social democracy — and the left hopes the rest of us don’t spot how they have co-opted human rights and lashed it to their own agenda. In Ireland, it is now being used to hound journalists who step too far out of line from the prevailing political correctness. For example, in this newspaper last week, Kevin Myers wrote a very trenchant piece about Africa which the Immigrant Council of Ireland believes amounts to incitement to hatred. It has complained to the gardai and it wants criminal charges brought against mr Myers. Newsrooms across the land should be signing petitions protesting against this attack on freedom of speech. But of course, if you are a person of the left yourself, or merely apathetic, then you won’t really care that the left-dominated human rights industry is gaining such a stranglehold on Irish life and is targeting dissidents like Mr Myers. But if you do care about freedom of expression, then you should be deeply worried, because the human rights industry has it in its sights, just as it has so many of our other freedoms, including democracy itself, in its sights. The time to protest is now.