U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today that the Committee will initiate an investigation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a UN agency which reportedly supplied Iran and North Korea with computers and other sensitive technology in violation of manufacturers' restrictions and in possible violation of UN sanctions. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The revelation that a UN agency has been supplying the brutal regimes in Iran and North Korea with sensitive technology is deeply disturbing, and must be thoroughly investigated. Providing these thugs with sensitive technology has the potential to enable their dangerous agendas. This serious offense cannot go overlooked or unpunished.
"Throughout the UN system there is a tendency to elevate and enable brutal dictatorships while denigrating free democracies. Even with UN sanctions in place, officials at UN agencies have gone out of their way to flout these measures and help the outlaws in Tehran and Pyongyang.
"As WIPO is reportedly helping the Iran and North Korea dictatorships, the Syrian dictatorship has emerged as a candidate for the UN Human Rights Council. This Council already counts human rights abusers among its members, and Syria coming on board would further increase despotic influence on the body.
"Despite the Administration's claims to have made significant strides in reforming the UN, the UN's actions tell a different story. Instead of throwing even more money at bad programs and hoping for the best, we need to condition our contributions to the UN on tangible reforms."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of H.R. 2829, the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011, which requires the United Nations to switch its funding mechanism from an assessed basis to a voluntary basis. This shift will empower the U.S. and other member-states to use their strongest leverage at the UN -- their monetary contributions -- to press for badly needed reform. This legislation enjoys the support of over 140 cosponsors, and was marked up and reported favorably by the House Foreign Affairs Committee last year.