- While national attention was focused
on the impending impeachment, President Clinton signed an executive order
which critics say promotes a globalist agenda and endangers the Bill of
- Dec. 10 marked the half-century anniversary
of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United
- Fifty years ago, representatives of the
member states met in Paris and put their signatures on the document that
was hailed by many as a great freedom landmark of human history -- on a
par with England's Magna Carta and America's Bill of Rights.
- The date of the signing has been commemorated
annually by presidential proclamation designating it Human Rights Day,
and the week following as Human Rights Week.
- Taking advantage of the historical significance
of this year's celebration, President Clinton, at a morning ceremony at
the White House, unveiled a set of eight policy initiatives (including
an executive order) intended as a way "to advance human rights at
home and abroad."
- "Today we commit ourselves to the
ideas of the Universal Declaration, to keep moving toward the promise outlined
in Paris 50 years ago," Clinton solemnly intoned -- and pledged American
resources to combat virtually every iniquity in the world from genocide
in Africa, to the suffering of women in Afghanistan, to "hate"
crimes and sweatshops in this country.
- As a publicity generator, the event fell
flat. Although an undisclosed number of dignitaries and members of Congress
were present, apparently national attention was so focused on the impeachment
proceedings that the White House ceremony was ignored by the public and
the press. Not even the president's announcement of the Eleanor Roosevelt
Human Rights Award -- a new annual award honoring the former first lady
and crediting her as the driving force behind the creation and adoption
of the Universal Declaration -- could draw attention away from the discussions
in progress on the Hill.
- Not surprisingly, the initiatives went
largely unreported -- until now.
- Heading the list was a far-reaching executive
order, Number 13107, calling for Implementation of Human Rights Treaties
(such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), and
directing agencies and departments of the executive branch to set up mechanisms
for carrying out the obligations mandated by these treaties. This will
require the states to change their laws and programs to assure conformity
and bring them into line with the treaties' requirements. A number of human
rights treaties (like the Convention for the Rights of the Child) have
yet to be ratified by the Senate, despite considerable arm-twisting by
- The executive order creates a new Interagency
Working Group on Human Rights Treaties, headed by the assistant to the
president for national security affairs and comprised -- for a start --
of policy and legal representatives from the departments of State, Justice,
Labor, Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Other agencies can be brought
on board if the chair deems it appropriate. The working group would develop
"effective mechanisms" to make sure that legislation proposed
by the administration (as well as that originated by Congress) is reviewed
for "conformity with international human rights obligations."
The working group is specifically tasked with monitoring the actions and
legislation by the states, commonwealths, and territories of the United
States -- and the Indian tribes as well -- to ensure that non-federal entities
are brought into "conformity" with the treaties.
- The other initiatives are not as broad
in scope, but expand government powers nonetheless, in some instances,
into foreign countries. Here, a synopsis of each:
- Establishment of a Genocide Early Warning
Center -- run by the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency
-- to focus intelligence resources "on situations that could potentially
lead to genocide," in various parts of the world, particularly Africa.
- To increase U.S. response to human rights
"emergencies," $8 million will be given over the next five years
to non-governmental organizations "to develop rapid response capacities."
The NGOs are to create overseas "assessment teams" and "monitoring
units" to keep tabs on "abuses" in foreign countries. To
help victims of human rights abuse, several NGOs that assist human rights
victims -- for instance Afghan women and survivors of genocide -- will
receive funding, and contributions to the U.N. Voluntary Fund for Torture
will be increased.
- $30 million will be allocated this year
to the International Labor Organization's Internation Program on the Elimination
of Child Labor.
- The federal government will push for
legislation allowing illegal aliens who are the victims of "serious
abuses" in the U.S. -- for instance, forced labor or forced prostitution
-- to gain lawful status if they identify abusers.
- New guidelines are to be issued for easier
adjudication of asylum claims by children in the United States.
- To prevent youth hate crime, the Department
of Education will distribute a publication of a guide for schools entitled
"Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes."
- In terms of expanding federal power,
these human rights initiatives -- in particular, the executive order --
go even further than other Clinton proposals, such as E.O. 13083 on federalism.
Had E.O. 13083 not been suspended, critics say it would have wiped out
the last vestiges of state authority and given the federal government complete
power over state government and the people. These recent initiatives open
up the matter of treaties and treaty-based law.
- Larry Becraft, a constitutional attorney
in Huntsville, Alabama, has made a long-term study of how treaties are
used as a tool to expand federal jurisdiction. In a telephone interview
he discussed with WorldNetDaily the hows and whys of these latest spinnings
from the Clinton White House.
- According to Becraft, treaties have been
used for decades by both lawmakers and the executive branch to make end
runs around the Constitution and loosen its restraints on government power.
Executive orders, an administrative tool which Clinton has used freely
to forward his own ends, can be either benign or malignant.
- "Basically, executive orders are
intended to govern the executive branch," Becraft explained. "Under
Title 5, Section 301 of the U.S. Code, the president can issue rules and
regulations to tell the agencies what to do. If you had a constitutionalist
president, he'd be issuing constitutionalist-minded executive orders. If
you have a 'Red' president he's going to issue 'Red' executive orders --
like the one he signed about Federalism. So that's what this is. Clinton
is directing his departments to start implementing the Human Rights treaties
and their provisions. He's using the legal tool he has with Title 5, Section
301, to begin the implementation process.
- "Now if you look at these 'human
rights' that they're talking about in those treaties, they're not really
what we'd call absolute rights -- they're privileges. They're granted by
the government. They can be suspended in the time of a declared national
emergency, there are a lot of conditions attached," Becraft noted.
- In talking about the interagency working
group headed by the president's assistant on national security affairs,
a part of the National Security Council, Becraft minced no words in his
discussion of Clinton's goal of world government and the importance of
- "If your agenda is to establish
world government -- which Clinton's is -- the military of all nations must
be converted into law enforcement," he observed. "If they make
these human rights provisions a policy, they've got to have some way to
enforce them. Right now they've got the militaries around the world doing
it, but I'll rue the day they come up with a world police.
- "In all the treaties -- the environmental
ones, like the human rights ones -- there's always some international agency
that will eventually enforce it. But they need a national one meanwhile.
That's what this interagency working group is all about. It will start
dictating to the state, territories, and Indian tribes what their legislation
is going to be," Becraft said. "That's the objective."
- Aaron Zelman is another critic of the
new policy initiatives. Zelman heads Jews for the Preservation of Firearms
Ownership, a non-profit public policy group based in Wisconsin, dedicated
to defending the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
- Zelman believes his is the only civil
rights organization that actively promotes the celebration of Bill of Rights
Day Dec. 15, the day the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were
ratified in 1791. Presidents issue proclamations formally recognizing the
occasion -- at the same time designating Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day. But
somehow, the Bill of Rights gets downplayed in the cacophony generated
over Human Rights -- a happenstance Zelman believes is very wrong.
- "The Human Rights Declaration is
a sham," he remarked bluntly.
- As Zelman sees it, "The ultimate
human right is the ability to keep oneself alive, and the present administration
-- through its support of gun control schemes -- has shown a complete disregard
for that right and for the right of a people to defend themselves against
a government that's gone bad."
- Without the Second Amendment, the other
rights in the Bill of Rights would not survive, observes Zelman. There
would be no right to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press.
"The Second Amendment is the insurance policy for the other rights
-- and the Declaration of Human Rights ignores this completely," he
said. "It does not recognize the right to keep and bear arms."
The human rights treaties declare that people have a "right to life,
liberty, and security of person," Zelman noted. He then asked, "But
how in the world do you support that? Security, like charity, starts at
home. The best security for a nation is a heavily armed citizenry. The
treaties don't specifically negate the holding of arms -- yet. But they
will," he predicted.
- Zelman fears government emphasis on the
"sham" rights of the Universal Declaration will destroy the Bill
of Rights, because the public will in time lose awareness that it even
- "The Bill of Rights will be buried
because no one is paying attention to it," he said. "Things like
the executive order for Human Rights will bury the Bill of Rights. Then
the Human Rights Declaration will be substituted in its place."
- © 1998 Western Journalism Center