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In a significant indication of just how wide the disconnected between the US security state and the rest of the world is becoming the UN high commissioner for human rights has made a statement that she views the efforts of the US government to prosecute Edward Snowden as being in violation with international standards of human rights.

Edward Snowden should not face trial, says UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay says of former NSA contractor: 'those who disclose human rights violations should be protected'

The United Nations's top human rights official has suggested that the United States should abandon its efforts to prosecute Edward Snowden, saying his revelations of massive state surveillance had been in the public interest.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, credited Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor, with starting a global debate that has led to calls for the curtailing of state powers to snoop on citizens online and store their data.

"Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected: we need them," Pillay told a news conference.

"I see some of it here in the case of Snowden, because his revelations go to the core of what we are saying about the need for transparency, the need for consultation," she said. "We owe a great deal to him for revealing this kind of information."

The US debate about Snowden and his revelations has almost completely revolved around the question of whether the activities of the NSA constitute violations of the constitutional rights of American citizens. There seems to be a widely held view that whatever the US government does to people in other countries is fair game and not something that Americans need to be concerned about.

Admittedly the UN has no teeth and there are certainly other countries that violate the privacy rights of their citizens. However, the US is the country that loves to pontificate on its own exceptionalism and the ideological purity of its democratic institutions. There are about 6.7B people on this planet who are increasingly unwilling to buy that line.

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