• Human Rights

    Leave the UN’s Human-Rights Treaty System Alone

    by  • January 7, 2018 • Human Rights, WORLDVIEWS • 1 Comment

    The United Nations Charter requires each and every member state to discharge its obligations by faithfully carrying out norms of legally binding international human-rights law. These may be norms of international customary law, those contained in treaties or those flowing from general principles of international law. The human-rights provisions in the Charter were amplified...

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    Sexual Harassment at the UN Is Alive and Persistent

    by  • December 22, 2017 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Secretary-General, UN Diplomats, Women • 1 Comment

    As its people of the year, Time magazine recently named the Silence Breakers — people who have spoken against sexual harassment and launched the hashtag #MeToo into an international phenomenon with more than seven million hits on social media. Just before the announcement, more than 230 women who work in national security for the...

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    In East Africa, Threats to LGBTQ Rights Intensify

    by  • December 12, 2017 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, LGBT • 

    STONE TOWN, Tanzania — When a story circulated in August 2017 of male lions attempting to copulate with each other in Kenya’s Masai Mara national park, headlines and Twitter feeds went wild with speculation, ridicule and accusation. Despite Kenya being one of the more progressive countries in East Africa regarding LGBTQ awareness and rights, the...

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    ‘Period Poverty’: Why No One Is Talking About Eco-Friendly Solutions

    by  • November 30, 2017 • Climate and Environment, Human Rights, Poverty, Women • 1 Comment

    The United Nations has recognized menstrual hygiene as a global public health and human-rights issue, yet across the world, “period poverty,” as some call it, is the reality for millions of women and girls. In India, for example, it is estimated that only 12 percent of the country’s 355 million menstruating women can afford...

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    Modernizing the Role of Human Rights in the UN Security Council

    by  • November 28, 2017 • Human Rights, Security Council, US Foreign Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 

    The Security Council is the most authoritative organ of the United Nations, and supporters of the Council naturally expect it to exercise that authority when gross violations of human rights shock the conscience of humanity. During the Cold War, such actions were rarely done, except partly in relation to situations in southern Africa. Since...

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    António Guterres, Please Reform the UN’s Human Rights Tools

    by  • November 20, 2017 • Human Rights, Secretary-General, WORLDVIEWS • 

    When recently asked what keeps him up at night, António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, gave a straight answer: bureaucracy as well as “fragmented structures, byzantine procedures, endless red tape.” Such flaws also apply to UN human-rights mechanisms, and Guterres should ensure that his UN-wide reform agenda prioritizes strengthening such tools, which can be...

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    Four Easy Steps to Reform the UN Human Rights Council

    by  • October 15, 2017 • Human Rights, US-UN Relations, WORLDVIEWS • 1 Comment

    Problems encircling the United Nations Human Rights Council are verging toward a major crisis. The same crisis had engulfed its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, leading the secretary-general at the time, Kofi Annan, to call to replace it with the Council. But the same problems affecting the former Commission now affect its successor,...

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    Janet Benshoof, Legal Activist, Seeks Help for Burma Through the Global Court

    by  • October 8, 2017 • Asia, Geopolitics, Human Rights, International Justice • 

    Photo of Janet Benshoof, a lawyer-activist, leads the Global Justice Center in New York.

    Burma has long been a unique country not only for its otherworldly landscape of pagodas and gold-topped stupas but also, paradoxically, as an isolated country where a nationalistic military has given itself extraordinary constitutional powers. Generals, who have warped the country’s Buddhist heritage over half a century, can now attack the Muslim-majority Rohingya people...

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    US Ambassador’s Ultimatum to the UN: Agree With Us or We Go It Alone

    by  • September 16, 2017 • Human Rights, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Nikki Haley Watch, Security Council, US Foreign Relations, US-UN Relations • 

    When Nikki Haley, now the United States ambassador to the United Nations, was questioned by senators at her confirmation hearing in January about how she would deal with Donald Trump’s dismissive view of internationalism, she said confidently, “I will show him that the UN matters.” She also said that she would show the world...

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    Has Anyone Seen the UN Secretary-General’s Human Rights Agenda?

    by  • August 22, 2017 • Human Rights, Secretary-General, WORLDVIEWS • 

    Secretary-General António Guterres has set about modernizing some sectors of the United Nations and made impassioned statements about the need to protect human rights. But beyond rhetoric, so far there has been no indication of his modernizing the human-rights sector. We have seen this before. Dag Hammarskjold, a previous secretary-general, undoubtedly believed in human...

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    $5 Million Grant From Microsoft Will Help UN Track Human-Rights Abuses

    by  • July 20, 2017 • Human Rights • 

    As political instability, conflicts and migration proliferate across the world, technology has become a potential solution for identifying and predicting human-rights violations, which play a major role instigating upheavals. Smartphones enable instant updates and eyewitness accounts of events happening around the globe, and the use of cloud computing and big-data analysis allows large amounts...

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    For the US, a Tale of Two Human-Rights Violations

    by  • July 14, 2017 • Human Rights, Nikki Haley Watch, US Foreign Relations, US-UN Relations • 3 Comments

    Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is positioning herself as a champion of human rights. But she appears to be highly selective about which countries or regimes she accuses of committing human-rights abuses. At the same time, she has been pushing hard for cuts to UN peacekeeping missions, which could hurt...

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    A New Duet for Nikki Haley and Trump

    by  • July 10, 2017 • Human Rights, Nikki Haley Watch, US-UN Relations • 1 Comment

    Nearly six months into her United Nations assignment, Ambassador Nikki Haley is aligning herself more decisively with President Donald Trump, defending some of his most controversial and unpopular moves. It is a critical diplomatic time for the White House and for Haley, who is viewed around the UN mostly as a politician with big...

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    US Supreme Court Bars Discrimination Against Unwed Fathers, Rejecting Stereotypes

    by  • June 21, 2017 • Human Rights, Sustainable Development Goals, WORLDVIEWS • 

    Unwed fathers and mothers may not be treated differently in determining whether their children born overseas can claim American citizenship, the United States Supreme Court has recently ruled. This means that all children born to an unmarried American parent, whether it is a father or a mother, must now be treated the same. The...

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    Mass Tourism: Bad for Culture but Good for Women?

    by  • June 13, 2017 • Africa, Asia, Development, Human Rights, Unesco, Women • 

    FLORENCE, Italy — This month, Italy’s tourism season kicks into high gear. Florence, which receives more than 16 million tourists a year, is one of many cities to be marred by mass travel. In the famously picturesque Piazza della Signoria, groups plod through the cobblestoned square, shepherded by flag-waving guides. Vendors peddle selfie-sticks in...

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    In Geneva, Nikki Haley Dodges Questions of US Future in UN Rights Council

    by  • June 6, 2017 • Human Rights, Nikki Haley Watch, US Foreign Relations, US-UN Relations • 

    In a much-anticipated series of speeches in Geneva on June 6, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, would not say whether a decision had been made by the Trump administration about US membership in the UN Human Rights Council. But she warned that if the Council, widely criticized by conservative...

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    One Major Way to End the Global Rape Epidemic: Through Laws

    by  • May 25, 2017 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, WORLDVIEWS • 

    Recently in northern India, a five-months pregnant 10-year-old girl was forced to go to court to request an abortion after conceiving as a result of being repeatedly raped by her stepfather. Indian law does not allow terminating a pregnancy after 20 weeks unless doctors certify that the woman’s life or health is in danger;...

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    Did Equatorial Guinea Bribe Its Way to a UN Security Council Seat?

    by  • May 23, 2017 • Africa, Geopolitics, Human Rights, Poverty, Security Council • 1 Comment

    Amid the predominantly Francophone region in West Africa is tiny Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea, a country blessed — or cursed — with vast oil reserves. For most of its independent life, the country has been ruled by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has the distinction of being the longest-serving nonroyal head of state in...

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