Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dear Jim Flaherty: About "Rights and Democracy." Kill The Thing, Please.

You’d think there would be nothing new to say about the scandal-ridden GONGO (Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organization) that calls itself the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development but which is otherwise known as Rights and Democracy. Sadly, there is, and I have some things to report in my Ottawa Citizen column today.

Its about the key chapter in the story that has embroiled the agency in such wild histrionics since 2008 — R&D’s involvement, or not, in the April 2009 Durban Review Conference in Geneva, the disastrous spectacle otherwise known as the UN World Conference on Racism. R&D wasn’t supposed to have anything to do with the “Durban II” conference because Canada was among the 10 countries that had decided to boycott the whole thing.

This is an exchange between New Democratic Party MP Paul Dewar — R&D’s most strident defender — and [the late and roundly lamented Remy] Beauregard’s successor, Gérard Latulippe, during a hearing of the House Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of February 9 last year. Dewar: “There was this Durban 2 conspiracy. That’s a dud, from what you’re showing in the document here. I’ll say it’s a dud. You can say there was nothing there.” Latulippe: “What I did is I’m giving you all the facts.”

A conspiracy? A dud? All the facts?

Not according to an R&D staffer who was directly involved in a senior position with the UN Human Rights Council’s Durban preparations panel. The former staffer does not want to be identified, and I’m content to leave the person’s name out of it. The R&D employee’s involvement in planning the Durban conference was made known to R&D management at the time. It’s all set out in two reports that have come into my possession that the staffer filed with R&D management, from Geneva, dated October 30 and December 22, 2008. . .

. . .It should tell you something that more than $500,000 in public funds has been spent over the past three years or so on investigations and deliberations involving R&D, including its Geneva operation, and that one staffer’s reports haven’t come up. A measly amount, you could say, and R&D’s $11 million annual cost to taxpayers is a drop in the federal budget’s bucket, too.

But Rights and Democracy’s mission — which is to assist in the global advance of universal human rights and democratic development — is more critically necessary now than it has been at any time in the agency’s 24-year history. And R&D is broken. It’s time to start over with something that works.

Deeper background here.


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