The GOI is comfortable promoting human rights around the globe, Puri said, but Washington cannot expect to enlist New Delhi on ""frontal"" efforts like regime change to fix human rights problems.
58912 3/31/2006 12:44 06NEWDELHI2226 Embassy New Delhi CONFIDENTIAL 06NEWDELHI286 "VZCZCXRO9812
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9964" "C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 002226
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/2016
TAGS: PREL, PHUM, KUNR, KDEM, UN, IN
SUBJECT: INDIA RE-STATES ITS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL MANTRA
REF: A. NEW DELHI 286
B. NEW DELHI 95
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Classified By: PolCouns Geoff Pyatt for Reasons 1.4(B, D)
1. (C) Summary: MEA's UN Joint Secretary Manjiv Puri was sanguine about the as-yet unaddressed flaws in the new Human Rights Council, arguing that the need to stand for election in the General Assembly would bar the worst human rights violators from the Council. India and the US have different approaches to promoting country-specific human rights, he said, but India would work ""constructively"" with the US in the Council and elsewhere to promote democracy and human rights. India plans to seek election to the Council and would support the US' candidacy. End Summary.
POST-HRC, BACK TO DISCUSSING THE SAME DETAILS
2. (C) Joint Secretary (UN Economic and Social) Manjeev Puri told PolCouns and Poloff on March 29 that he did not believe the US was very displeased with the resolution creating the new Human Rights Council (HRC), or the resolution would not have progressed to the point it did. Now that the HRC has been created, he continued, we are back to discussing ""details"" like how best to safeguard human rights, and whether to use country-specific resolutions. The GOI believes human rights protections would flow naturally from greater development. The US is the country most capable of providing the ""greater amounts"" of assistance needed to raise people's standards of living, he added.
3. (C) The GOI is comfortable promoting human rights around the globe, Puri said, but Washington cannot expect to enlist New Delhi on ""frontal"" efforts like regime change to fix human rights problems. India prefers to offer assistance, advice, and example to promote human rights, he explained, arguing that Pakistan, for example, is forced to defend human rights because the world community compares Pakistan to India's example.
ENGAGEMENT BETTER THAN CENSURE
4. (C) Sharing a copy of Ambassador Bolton's Explanation of Vote, PolCouns agreed that India has credibility on promotion of human rights and democracy, but pressed Puri to move the GOI's voting and rhetoric ""past the old days"" of reflexive alignment with NAM countries. India should use the new HRC as an opportunity to take on a more positive role, he stressed. Puri promised that India would be ""constructive"" in using the HRC to promote democracy, but cautioned that New Delhi must ""deal with realities"" such as Burma. In some circumstances, ""what does passing a resolution do,"" he wondered, arguing that engagement and hoping that democracy will ""rub off"" is a better strategy in the long run.
MEMBERSHIP FOR HR VIOLATORS UNLIKELY IN INDIA'S VIEW
5. (C) PolCouns reminded Puri of his optimism that egregious human rights violators would be kept off of the Council without a formal bar (Ref B), and asked how he expected this to work. Puri dismissed concerns that the HRC had no mechanism to prevent gross human rights violators from seeking membership. States like Burma and Sudan will face ""two bars"" to election, he speculated. First, he asked
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rhetorically, which of the worst violators would ""have the guts"" to announce their candidacy to the HRC, and second, how could they garner 97 votes for election? When pressed, Puri admitted that Cuba may be a ""special case."" In any case, Puri concluded, India will support the US for a spot on the HRC should Washington choose to stand for election. India will announce its candidacy as well, he commented, but the formal announcement must await bureaucratic clearances.
COMMENT: STILL TRYING TO SHED OLD BAGGAGE
6. (C) Although the senior leadership in New Delhi has made progress over the past two years in being willing actively and publicly to promote democracy, the Foreign Ministry's allergy to country-specific resolutions is proving resilient. It is unfortunate that New Delhi's positive statements to us on the HRC have been tarnished by its New York Ambassador's NAM-centric statement on the vote. A true change of course on human rights at the tactical level may have to wait until more of the Indian Foreign Service's NAM-nostalgic cadres retire.