Exerpts: ………..So many people are desperate. So many face injustice, genocide, starvation, and corruption. And they feel powerless. So many people yearn just to be heard. Mohamed Bouazizi was one of the first to show the world the frustration that’s out there. Mohamed was a simple street vendor in Tunisia. He was repeatedly abused by a corrupt system for the crime of wanting to sell his oranges and apples. He became so desperate to be heard that he set himself on fire in front of the offices of the police—the very police who had humiliated and stolen from him. Mohamed’s act of desperation was heard by the people. It set off the Arab Spring.
Then there was Neda. She was 26 years old, talking on her cellphone, when she was shot by government forces in Iran in 2009. A video of her bleeding to death on the street in Tehran went viral. Once again, the people reacted. Neda’s death powered the Green Revolution, but the international elite had other priorities for Iran. In the end, Neda’s death—and the dreams of the Iranian people—were overlooked and unfulfilled.
Like all governing bodies, the United Nations has to contend with this growing wave of discontent. I came to the U.N. with the goal of showing the American people value for our investment in this institution. And when I say value, I’m not primarily talking about budgets. I’m talking about making the U.N. an effective tool on behalf of our values.
The United States is the moral conscience of the world. We will not walk away from this role, but we will insist that our participation in the U.N. honor and reflect this role. If we can’t speak on behalf of people like Mohamed and Neda, then we have no business being here.
For me, human rights are at the heart of the mission of the United Nations. That’s why I’ll be devoting a portion of my presidency to putting the issue of human rights on the agenda—on the agenda at the Security Council.
It might surprise many Americans to learn that human rights violations have not been considered an appropriate subject for discussion in the Security Council. This is the rule the club has created. The Security Council has never had a session focused exclusively on human rights. There have been meetings focused on singular situations in particular countries, but never has a meeting been dedicated to the broader question of how human rights abuses can lead to a breakdown in national peace and security. The thinking is that peace and security are the Security Council’s business; human rights are left separate, to others……
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