By: Paul Jacob
Like E.F. Hutton, when the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights “Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” talks, people listen.
In disbelief, perhaps. Or amusement. But they listen.
Well, at least Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank listens, anyway.
Unfortunately, Milbank couldn’t get Dr. Dainius Puras to talk.
Puras is the Lithuanian serving as the U.N.’s “Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to blah, blah, blah.” Milbank did, however, uncover an “urgent appeal” sent by Puras to the U.S. State Department, with instructions to pass it along to U.S. congressional leaders.
Dr. Puras won’t discuss his confidential February correspondence until June, when “it becomes public at the next session of the Human Rights Council.” But the “leaked” five-page letter announces the U.N. has launched an investigation to determine whether repealing the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, violates international law.
As Milbank offers, “It turns out that the notion that ‘health care is a right’ is more than just a Democratic talking point.”
The letter cites possible U.S. transgression of Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
This is standard U.N. legal speak: triumphantly overstated; unenforceably vague.
It’s no surprise once one realizes the U.N. represents the governments of the world, not the people. It never addresses discernable individual rights to life, free speech, freedom of the press or the free exercise of religion. Instead, the socialist-oriented organization proclaims a “right to a standard of living adequate for . . . health and well-being.”
Who is to determine the meaning of “adequate”? And are all the countries currently on the U.N. Human Rights Council — such as China, Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela — providing the people over whom they rule adequate “well-being”?
Dr. Puras’s letter references other U.N. gobbledygook, including Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. That sacrosanct document requires States to “recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” including the “prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases,” as well as the “creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.”
An implied threat is delivered against repealing any government-provided medical benefit, declaring “there is a strong presumption that retrogressive measures taken in relation to health are not permissible.”
“The letter urges that ‘all necessary interim measures be taken to prevent the alleged violations’” Milbank explains, “and asks that, if the ‘allegations’ proved correct, there be ‘adequate measure . . . to guarantee the accountability of any person responsible.’”
Should Congress repeal Obamacare, will U.N. troops occupy Washington, arresting congressmen for voting against its mandate?
The international body has no way “to impose its will,” acknowledges Milbank, seeming to wish it did and complaining that folks just “scoff at lectures from U.N. bureaucrats.”
Don’t scoff at their scoffing. It’s a reasonable response to a long history of incompetence, corruption and worse. Throughout the world, people all across the political spectrum — from the UK’s Daniel Hannan to former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton — upbraid the U.N. for its poor track record.
Earlier this month, the Associated Press released a report alleging nearly 2,000 instances of U.N. “peacekeepers” sexually abusing Haitians — including hundreds of children — along with no arrests and zero accountability. The report followed a 2016 report of sexual crimes committed by U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and many other such reports before that.
Taking solace from the Special Rapporteur’s letter, Milbank declares: “[T]he U.N. letter is at least a bit of moral support for those defending Obamacare.”
From the U.N.?
Now, you’re pulling my leg.