Lynch Law at the United Nations


By Daniel Greenfield l March 27, 2012

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous                                                             UN Human Rights Council in Geneva


On December 1951, Paul Robeson and William L. Patterson presented United Nations officials with “We Charge Genocide,” a petition that classified the United States with Hitler’s Nazi Germany calling for the UN to take action against the United States in line with the UN Convention on Genocide. Patterson and Robeson were both Communists and their Civil Rights Congress was a Communist front group.

Over 60 years later, the NAACP is following in the footsteps of the Civil Rights Congress by taking its case to the United Nations. Much has changed over the years. Segregation is a distant memory and African-American politicians occupy the highest offices in the land. Every door is open and every opportunity is available. Beyond that, affirmative action has granted African-Americans special privileges that the majority of the population does not enjoy.

And yet despite all this, the NAACP, which in the 50’s played a moderate role by denouncing the Civil Rights Congress and refusing to participate in their unpatriotic actions, is doing today what it would not do then. Its case does not hinge on lynchings or segregation, but on states requiring photo IDs to prevent voter fraud.

It is a sign of how the NAACP has lost its bearings since the days of Walter Francis White, who made it clear that he would not participate in any outside efforts to delegitimize his country; that it would not only take its case against a legitimate measure to prevent voter fraud to a foreign organization, but that it would do so to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which is a notorious nest of human rights abusers.

The Human Rights Council is to human rights what lynch law was to law. The current makeup of the UNHRC includes Saudi Arabia, a country which denies basic human rights to half its population and which employs slave labor. It includes Cuba, which has a history of persecuting Afro-Cubans. It includes China, which is hard at work reducing parts of Africa to glorified colonies complete with slave workers.

“The power of the UN on state governments historically is to shame them and to put pressure on the U.S. government to bring them into line with global standards,” NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous has said. But which of the UN Human Rights Council’s standards would Jealous truly like to bring the United States or its individual states in line with?

Indonesia, another member of the UNHRC, has seized West Papua, whose primarily dark-skinned population continues to be denied basic civil rights. The United Nations played a major role in providing legitimacy to the Indonesian repression of West Papua, with the Act of Free Choice. The Act had a small number of natives handpicked by the Indonesian military voting with a show of hands for Indonesian rule. It was a violation of everything that the United Nations stood for and, yet, it was approved of by the UN General Assembly. West Papuans who carried signs reading, “One man, One Vote” were murdered for it.

This is not a mere matter of history because the occupation of West Papua continues to the present day. As does the repression of West Papuan democracy activists. Is this really the “global standard” that the NAACP’s Jealous would like to bring the United States in line with? Is a brutally repressive regime truly qualified to comment on the legality of asking American voters to present photo identification before casting their vote?

Russia, another member of the UN Human Rights Council, recently stole an election and savagely beat protesters who rallied against the breakdown of democracy. Would the NAACP like American elections to be conducted on the standard set by Vladimir Putin?

Of the other UN Human Rights Council members, some such as Qatar and Kuwait, blatantly engage in slavery. The Al-Thani clan of Qatar continued to traffic in African slaves as late as the mid-20th century and slavery was only officially abolished in 1952. Unofficially, it continues into the present day with more than ninety percent of workers in Qatar consisting of migrant labor with no civil rights.

In “Silent Terror: A Journey Into Contemporary African Slavery,” African-American author Samuel Cotton described the ongoing slave trade from Africa into the Gulf region. Cotton has denounced the NAACP for its silence on the subject of modern day African slavery. If the NAACP were legitimately concerned about civil rights, it would have challenged the UN Human Rights Council, which includes countries that traffic in slaves, to end the practice for good. Instead, it demanded that virtual ‘slave states’ look into voter ID laws in a country which abolished slavery over a century and a half ago.

Does the NAACP genuinely want to subject the laws of a country where a black man can rise to the highest office in the land to the scrutiny of nations which hold slaves and which have written laws of inequality into their highest documents? The Maldives, another member of the UNHRC, has a constitution which limits citizenship to Muslims. It is not legally possible to be a citizen of the Maldives, without being a follower of Islam. And, it is not the only UNHRC member that this is true of.

The Malaysian flag is fairly similar to the flag of the United States, except for one minor detail. Where the American flag displays the stars that represent the states of the Union, the Malaysian flag, instead, features the crescent and star of Islam. Does the NAACP really wish to have an organization whose flag deliberately represents only the majority to be able to shape the voting rights of a nation whose flag represents ALL of its citizens?

The NAACP has brought a voting rights dispute to a forum of countries, many of whom do not have free, fair and open elections. The Freedom House report card on UN Human Rights Council members from 2010 found that the proportion of free countries had declined to under 50 percent, the number of partly free countries had fallen to below 30 percent, while the number of not free had increased by a third.

With numbers like these, the NAACP has no credible grounds for claiming that its appeal to the UN Human Rights Council was intended to bring the United States into line with a higher global standard that is present in the Council.

Nor did the NAACP have any binding need to turn to the United Nations at all, when it had a sympathetic U.S. Attorney General who has already attacked Voter ID laws, a White House completely on its side and a Federal judiciary, which had shown itself willing to overrule state laws on the most dubious of grounds, when voting rights were at issue.

Benjamin Jealous has asked for a United Nations investigation and recommendations for further action, all of which are completely unnecessary, as the NAACP, an organization with an annual budget of over twenty million dollars and over half-a-million members, is more than capable of doing both. The NAACP has a long history of civil rights activism and detailed familiarity with the system of elections in every state. It isn’t advice or assistance that the NAACP wants from the United Nations, instead, it is appealing to what it sees as a higher level of federal power at the global level; and, in doing so, it is jeopardizing the infrastructure of U.S. national and state laws that make voting rights possible. It is doing what the NAACP refused to do in the days of “We Charge Genocide,” and, that is to undermine the United States of America.

The NAACP has misrepresented its case as a defense of voting rights, because voter ID laws protect voting rights by preventing voter fraud. The franchise is only significant to the extent that it is legitimate, a reality that the example of UN Human Rights Council members such as Russia can only remind us of. Voter fraud deprives legitimate voters of their voting rights by diluting their influence and diminishing the power of their vote.

The recent stolen elections in Iran and Russia were done by means of massive voter fraud. They are examples of how voter fraud eliminates voting rights by rendering legitimate votes meaningless. If the NAACP were genuinely interested in protecting voting rights, it would work together with states to help fight voter fraud and protect voter representation, rather than grandstand on the global stage. Instead, the NAACP has committed itself to fighting against voter rights by opposing basic measures aimed at halting voter fraud.

States with voter ID laws have been careful to offer free identifications so that no one is denied the right to vote. And the voter ID issue had already gone to the highest court of the land in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. Only three Supreme Court justices agreed that a voter ID requirement was unconstitutional. The majority decision of six justices in that case found that, “Because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting.”

By going to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the NAACP is trying to go over the heads of the highest court in the land to a group of nations whose average level of human rights is below that of any state in the country. It cannot argue that it is trying to improve our standard of voting rights, when it is seeking the support of countries which have much lower standards of voting rights, when, that is, they have any voting rights at all.

The essence of voting rights is that they shape the political system under which we live. If the NAACP truly believed in the importance of protecting the right to vote, it would also seek to protect the integrity of the vote and the integrity of the system of elected officials who are chosen by that vote and the judges appointed by them. By going past those officials and judges to an international body like the United Nations, whose members are more likely to be appointed by dictators than by officials elected in free and fair elections, the NAACP has demonstrated its contempt for the very thing it pretends to be trying to protect.

The United Nations is not a democratic organization. Its membership is appointed rather than elected. Its member countries are proportionately unfree, rather than free. The NAACP understood in the past that freedom cannot come from an unfree entity. Today, the NAACP no longer seems concerned with freedom or the integrity of the voting booth, only with undermining the United States and promoting voter fraud for the vested interests of its friendly politicians.

The NAACP’s UN bid is not the action of an American organization, but an organization with no national loyalties, no allegiance to the political and judicial system of the United States and no vested interest in protecting the rights of Americans. Its appeal to the United Nations cannot be seen as a call for freedom, but as a rejection of America.

Daniel Greenfield is a New York City-based writer and freelance commentator with a special focus on the War on Terror and the rising threat to Western Civilization. Mr. Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center. He maintains a blog and is a contributor to

SFPPR News & Analysis.