Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Promoting Democracy in the U.S.: Seeking Support of the United Nations

The official position of the United States government over the past three administrations has been to promote democracy throughout the world.  The US has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

It is commendable the US government advocates for these Universal Human Rights in Cuba, Russia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iran, but it would be even better, if our government also advocated for the same principles within our own country.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act declares that any city or district “in financial emergency,” as he has defined that term, appoint an emergency manager (at county, city, district or township level) and give that person the power to control budgets, sell off assets, bypass city councils and boards of education, take over school systems, de-certify public unions, and even to dissolve the city itself as an entity. It explicit vacates democratically elected governments, essentially amounting to voter disenfranchisement.  While we are accustomed to such events in former totalitarian states and developing countries, such a flagrant attack on democracy in the US is shocking and the American Administration has been stunningly silent. 

Article 25 states, Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:
To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
• To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors; To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.”

Under Rick Synder’s Emergency Manager Law, future public elections will be controlled by Republican partisans he appoints to regulate access to voting.  There is every indication access to voting will be dramatically restricted for racial minorities, elderly citizens, college students, and people with disabilities.  As a consequence, the resulting vote counts will not represent the will of the people.

The United States Constitution, 14th Amendment states, “1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The 15th Amendment states: “1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”  The populations in the cities currently under the provisions of Snyder’s “Emergency” law or which are in line for such control, include over half of the African American United States Citizens in Michigan, the vast majority of whom are likely to vote for Barrack Obama.

Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin and his radical supporters in the legislature have pushed through a law that violates other provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, claiming that any group of four or more Wisconsin citizens who are inside the state capitol building must have a permit from Walker to be there and to petition their elected officials.

Article 21 Universal Declaration of Human Rights   The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Walker claims four veterans, parents of children with disabilities, business lobbyists or school teachers who come to see their state legislators about a legislative issue, must have his permission to do so, on the grounds that they represent a risk to public safety, public order or protection of the morals of the citizens of Wisconsin!

The First Amendment to the US Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Article 22 Universal Declaration of Human Rights:  Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Scott Walker, Rick Snyder and Governor Kasich in Ohio and their cronies in their respective legislatures passed laws seriously restricting public trade unions, clearly in violation of these very basic principles.

 Why are President Obama and Attorney General Holder silent on these critically important attacks contravening the US Constitution & Universal Declaration of Human Rights?   Where is their leadership at this critical juncture in our nation? Their silence is deafening.

Assistance from the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Honorable Laura Dupuy Lasserre, is hereby being sought to investigate and take necessary action to intervene in the growing anti-democratic actions in the United States of America that are undermining our democracy. Such an investigation should have full support of US Ambassador Susan Rice, since our own government is failing to fulfill its obligations.

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