News Release

Analysts on UN Summit

NOAM CHOMSKY
Author of a number of books on international relations, most recently Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs, and Institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chomsky said today: “The UN Millennium Summit has a nice wish list — it calls on governments to do lots of good things like devote resources to eliminating poverty and protect the environment. But the issues that matter can’t simply be solved by most of the countries of the world, they need to be addressed by the richest countries, the U.S. primarily. Its dominance in the world and its unique recalcitrance make it crucial. The U.S. has not signed the Kyoto protocol, is refusing to fund UN functions, even in Kosovo and East Timor. The Summit calls for increased aid, but aid from wealthy countries has actually decreased since 1990 — substantially from the U.S. There’s extreme opposition to U.S. policies on a wide range of issues at the UN: the Cuban embargo, Palestinian right of return, Lebanon’s right to compensation for the Israeli invasion and the U.S.’s Colombia policy. The UN is moving towards being corporate-based and that will tend to merge it with the financial institutions and the World Trade Organization. In a recent G77 meeting, which represents most of the population of the world, there was strong condemnation of corporate-led globalization, unilateral sanctions (mostly U.S-imposed) and the so-called ‘right’ of humanitarian intervention.”
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MARJORIE COHN
Author of the recent paper “Humanitarian Intervention” and associate professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Cohn said today: “The U.S., the sole remaining superpower, has sought to weaken the UN by failing to pay its UN dues and refusing to ratify many of the primary human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, the U.S. has bypassed the UN and, through NATO, invaded a sovereign nation under the guise of a new norm of ‘humanitarian intervention.'”
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MICHAEL RATNER
An international human rights attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights and adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, Ratner said today: “The U.S. may talk of internationalism, but its practice is one of exceptionalism. It refuses to subject itself to any international system of justice, is attempting to sabotage the international criminal court and pulled out of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice after the decision condemning its war against Nicaragua…. A substantial step forward would be to end the inhuman embargo on Iraq.”
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JOSHUA KARLINER
Director of the Transnational Resource & Action Center and CorpWatch and co-author of a new report, “Tangled Up in Blue: Corporate Partnerships at the United Nations,” Karliner said: “The UN is developing partnerships with corporations known for human, labor and environmental rights violations such as Nike and Shell…. The UN has the potential to foster global corporate accountability through binding environmental, human rights and labor accords, but the voluntary nature of its ‘Global Compact’ with transnational corporations weakens that potential.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020